Edited by James Pethica
22.3 x 15.5 cm. with 16 pp. with 36 illus.
These diaries, covering the decade or so following the death of her husband in 1892 until they peter out in 1902, chart the course of Lady Gregory's gradual but remarkable remaking of her life. Widowed at thirty-nine, with a London social circle composed mainly of her husband's friends, broadly Unionist in her political views, and with only a few minor publications to her name, she was by her fiftieth year an influential Nationalist, close friend of the major figures of the Irish literary movement, widely acknowledged as the hostess of a `workshop of genius' at Coole Park, and on the threshold of lasting literary prominence in her own right.
The rich account these pages give of Lady Gregory's life in the 1890s and of her deepening friendship with and patronage of W.B.Yeats radically changes the existing image of her evolution as an Irish writer and Nationalist. As the only contemporary diary kept by a major figure in the Irish literary movement during these years, their day-to-day record of the summer visits of Synge, George Moore, AE, Hyde and others to Coole, of the early years of the Irish Literary Theatre, and of the swiftly changing allegiances and tensions in her extensive literary circle, provides a revealing and frequently corrective counterweight to the narratives of these years written long afterwards (in the light of later autobiographical imperatives) by Yeats, Moore, Lady Gregory herself and others.
James Pethica was born in England and educated at Oxford, and is currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Richmond, Virginia. He has published a number of articles on Yeats and Lady Gregory, and is at present completing a book on their literary partnership and creative collaborations. His edition of Yeats's Last Poems was published in the Cornell Yeats series in 1997.More info →