It is now over fifty years since the death of Augusta Gregory, who as a playwright, folklorist, essayist, poet, translator, editor, theatre administrator and nationalist, contributed so much and so uniquely to the realisation of modern Ireland. Yet soon after her death she seemed to be virtually forgotten, and the words on her gravestone – ‘she shall be remembered for ever’ – had a very hollow ring about them.
It has only been in the last twenty-five years that Lady Gregory’s reputation has turned round, beginning with Elizabeth Coxhead’s biography, and the subsequent appearance of the Coole Edition of her works. The publication of Mary Lou Kohfeldt's biography in 1985 and now the appearance of this volume – the first collection of essays to be devoted to her – must surely create a greater awareness of her importance as a cornerstone of the Irish Literary Revival.
Her books and plays, together with her work for the Abbey as manager, playwright, play-reader and fund-raiser, have had an influence on the literary life of Ireland in the first half of this century that has been greatly underestimated.
This collection opens with fragments of memory about Lady Gregory, and then brings together leading critics to write about various aspects of her life, her work, and her friendships with Yeats, W. S. Blunt, Sean O’Casey, John Quinn, and Douglas Hyde. There is also a checklist of her contributions to periodicals (over 180 items so far discovered), and an assessment of the work of her son, Robert Gregory.
Fragments of memory come from George Moore, The Sunday Herald (Boston), Signe Toksvig, Sean O’Casey, The Rt. Rev. Arnold Harvey, Anne Gregory, W. B. Yeats, Anne Yeats, Maire nic Shiubhlaigh, W. G. Fay, Brinsley MacNamara and Gabriel Fallon.
The contributors are Andrew E. Malone, Mary FitzGerald, Mary Lou Kohfeldt Stevenson, Brian Jenkins, James Pethica, Elizabeth Longford, Daniel J. Murphy, Gareth W. Dunleavy, Maureen Murphy, John Kelly, Richard Allen Cave, Ronald Ayling, Robert Welch, Bernard Shaw, Dan H. Laurence, Lorna D. Young, Ann Saddlemyer, Colin Smythe.
INTRODUCTION. Ann Saddlemyer and Colin Smythe
CHRONOLOGY. Colin Smythe
FRAGMENTS OF MEMORY
Pen Portraits: George Moore Sunday Herald (Boston) Signe Toksvig Sean O'Casey
The Chatelaine of Coole: The Rt. Rev. Arnold Harvey, Anne Gregory, W. B. Yeats, Anne Yeats, Sean O'Casey, W. B. Yeats
At the Abbey Theatre: Maire nic Shiubhlaigh W. G. Fay Brinsley MacNamara Gabriel Fallon
LADY GREGORY, 1852–1932. Andrew E. Malone
'PERFECTION OF THE LIFE': LADY GREGORY'S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WRITINGS. Mary FitzGerald
THE CLOUD OF WITNESSES. Mary Lou Kohfeldt Stevenson
THE MARRIAGE. Brian Jenkins
LADY GREGORY AND WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT. Elizabeth Longford
'A WOMAN'S SONNETS'. Lady Gregory, with a Commentary by James Pethica
'DEAR JOHN QUINN''. Daniel J. Murphy
THE PATTERN OF THREE THREADS: THE HYDE-GREGORY FRIENDSHIP. Gareth W. Dunleavy
LADY GREGORY AND THE GAELIC LEAGUE. Maureen Murphy
LADY GREGORY AND SEAN O'CASEY: AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP REVISITED. Ronald Ayling
'FRIENDSHIP IS ALL THE HOUSE I HAVE': LADY GREGORY AND W. B. YEATS. John Kelly
A LANGUAGE FOR HEALING. Robert Welch
NOTE ON LADY GREGORY'S PLAYS. Bernard Shaw, edited by Dan H. Laurence
FOUR FRENCH COMEDIES: LADY GREGORY'S TRANSLATIONS OF MOLIÈRE. Mary FitzGerald
IN RETROSPECT: LADY GREGORY'S PLAYS FIFTY YEARS LATER. Lorna D. Young
THE GLORY OF THE WORLD AND THE PEASANT MIRROR. Ann Saddlemyer
LADY GREGORY'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERIODICALS: A CHECKLIST. Colin Smythe
APPENDIX: ROBERT GREGORY: ARTIST AND STAGE DESIGNER. Richard Allen Cave
Notes on Contributors
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