Irish literary renaissance

Irish literary renaissance,

late 19th- and early 20th-century movement that aimed at reviving ancient Irish folklore, legends, and traditions in new literary works. The movement, also called the Celtic renaissance, was in part the cultural aspect of a political movement that was concerned with self-government for Ireland and discovering a literary past that would be relevant to the struggle for independence. The revival produced some of the best plays of the 20th cent. in the dramas of J. M. SyngeSynge, John Millington
, 1871–1909, Irish poet and dramatist, b. near Dublin, of Protestant parents. He was an important figure in the Irish literary renaissance. As a young man he studied music in Germany and later lived in Paris, where he wrote literary criticism.
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 and Sean O'CaseyO'Casey, Sean
, 1884–1964, Irish dramatist, one of the great figures of the Irish literary renaissance. A Protestant, he grew up in the slum district of Dublin and was active in various socialist movements and in the rebellions for Irish independence.
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 and some of the greatest poetry in the works of W. B. YeatsYeats, W. B.
(William Butler Yeats), 1865–1939, Irish poet and playwright, b. Dublin. The greatest lyric poet Ireland has produced and one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, Yeats was the acknowledged leader of the Irish literary renaissance.
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. One of the movement's most impressive achievements was the establishment of the Abbey TheatreAbbey Theatre,
Irish theatrical company devoted primarily to indigenous drama. W. B. Yeats was a leader in founding (1902) the Irish National Theatre Society with Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge, and A. E. (George Russell) contributing their talents as directors and dramatists.
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. Other important writers of the revival were Lady GregoryGregory, Lady Augusta
(Isabella Augusta Persse), 1859–1932, Irish dramatist. Though she did not begin her writing career until middle-age, Lady Gregory soon became a vital force in the Irish drama.
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, G. W. RussellRussell, George William,
pseud. A. E.,
1867–1935, Irish author, b. Lurgan, educated in Dublin. An active member of the Irish nationalist movement, he edited the Irish Homestead (1904–23) and the Irish Statesman (1923–30).
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 (pseud. A. E.), and James StephensStephens, James,
1882–1950, Irish poet and fiction writer, b. Dublin. One of the leading figures of the Irish literary renaissance, Stephens is best known for his fanciful and highly colored prose writings—The Crock of Gold (1912), The Demi-Gods
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. James JoyceJoyce, James,
1882–1941, Irish novelist. Perhaps the most influential and significant novelist of the 20th cent., Joyce was a master of the English language, exploiting all of its resources.
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 was a caustic sometime participant in the movement.

Bibliography

See R. Hogan, After the Irish Renaissance (1967); J. W. Foster, Forces and Themes in Ulster Fichon (1974).

References in periodicals archive ?
The selections cover over four decades from Catholic Emancipation to the first stirrings of the Irish literary renaissance.
Admittedly, this perspective on the Irish Literary Renaissance reveals only a small part of the complex cultural dynamics which shaped its policy: contemporaneous aesthetic influences were, of course, equally or more significant.
John Banville proves that the Irish literary renaissance is still alive.

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