Six Essays on Edward Martyn (1859-1923), Irish Cultural Revivalist

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The many roles which Edward Martyn filled in order to realize his dreams of reform in the Irish Revival are comprehensively explored in this collection of essays. Martyn’s roles included host, patron, novelist, playwright, satirist, aesthete, collector of books and pictures, benefactor, journalist, and theatre director. His many activities, often forgotten or misunderstood, are documented here and set forth, for the first time, in the wider context of the multifaceted movement of Irish cultural nationalism which involved Martyn in developing relationships with fellow revivalists such as George Moore, Lady Gregory, Arthur Griffiths, D. P. Moran, Standish James O’Grady, and W. B. Yeats. This distilled analysis of the origins, development and failure of many of Martyn’s reforms extends to a probing of the roots of Ireland’s failure to achieve cultural independence during the 1920s and 30s when the very type of provincialism which Martyn so vehemently opposed became the conventional wisdom of the newly independent Irish Free State.


“The great virtue of Jerry Nolan’s work on Edward Martyn is that it rescues Martyn from his usual role as a bit player in the Irish Literary Renaissance and allows him to appear as the dedicated multi-faceted character he was, one whose cultural work for Ireland has hitherto not received the credit it is due. Nolan’s book is a fine piece of scholarship, informed by great enthusiasm for its subject.” – Terence Brown, Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature, Trinity College, Dublin

“I am very glad that Jerry Nolan’s research work on Edward Martyn is going to see the light of day. I think that the more material that gets published the better, and Jerry Nolan’s claims to authority in the field cannot be challenged.” – R. F. Foster, FBA, Carroll Professor of Irish History, Hertford College, Oxford

“…represents a substantial and impressive selection from Nolan’s comprehensive and sympathetic body of research into Martyn’s life and times. The author has carried out wide-ranging research into much of the available documentation about Martyn, material that is often difficult to access and for the most part fragmentary and fugitive in form. This, together with an unparalleled detailed knowledge of Martyn’s journalistic writings and artistic, cultural and political enterprises, and an astute critical insight, has enabled Nolan to construct a compelling, urgent and convincing case for the re-evaluation of this key figure of modern Irish history and literature….will undoubtedly become indispensable to scholars and historians working in the fields of Irish theatre history and of Irish cultural studies.” – Professor Mary C. King, Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies, National College of Ireland, Dublin

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface by Mary C. King
1. Host and Patron
2. Old Friend and Relative Stranger
3. Satirist and Uncloistered Monk
4. Aesthete and Benefactor
5. Journalist and Theatre Director
6. Irish Irelander and All Irelander
Appendices; Bibliography; Index

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