MARTYN, EDWARD

Sinn Féin’s First President, Irish Playwright Edward Martyn, on Literary Matters

Item #20142


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MARTYN, EDWARD - Sinn Féin’s First President, Irish Playwright Edward Martyn, on Literary Matters
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MARTYN, EDWARD - Sinn Féin’s First President, Irish Playwright Edward Martyn, on Literary Matters

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MARTYN, EDWARD. (1859-1923). Irish playwright, activist, first president of Sinn Féin, and patron of the arts in Dublin; notable for introducing W.B. Yeats to Lady Gregory. ALS. (“Edward Martyn”). 1½pp. 8vo. Dublin, October 17, 1912. On both sides of a single sheet of 4 Leinster Street South stationery, with the address in Gaelic and English. To CORNELIUS WEYGANDT (1871-1957), an influential professor of literature and writer on American culture.

 

I received your letter of 4 inst. this morning. I am sending you a photograph also a copy of my last play Grangecolman produced with success by the Independent Theatre Co. here last Jan. at the Abbey Theatre. Some years ago a copy of The Pathfinder was sent to me with an article by you which interested me. I hope next time you come near Tulira you will turn in & stay some time & not pass me by. I have several plays which I expect to be produced this winter. However it is hard to get an audience now for anything serious. Huge uniformity expressing itself in triviality: that’s the artistic outlook…”

 

Martyn’s family home was Tulira Castle in County Galway, located near Coole Park, the estate of Lady Gregory, an author and hostess of a London literary salon attended by luminaries like Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Everett Millais, and Henry James. Her home at Coole Park became the epicenter of the Irish Literary Revival, which, aided by the rise of Irish Nationalism, saw the publication of Irish folk tales, translations of Gaelic texts and new fiction and drama by Irish authors. Martyn is credited with introducing Lady Gregory to Irish poet W.B. Yeats in 1896; the trio co-founded the Irish Literary Theatre and, several years later, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, mentioned in our letter. Martyn’s plays The Heather Field and A Tale of a Town were written for the Irish Literary Theatre but his more important contribution was financial, as patron of the theatre company. He remained close to Lady Gregory and continued to write plays, including Grangecolman (also referred to in our letter), first produced by the Independent Theatre Company on January 25, 1912 at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. An Irish Republican, Martyn served as Sinn Féin’s first president from 1905 to 1908, but resigned to concentrate on his writing. After his death, his papers were donated to Dublin’s Carmelites of Clarendon Street who lost them.

 

Weygandt, a professor of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania from 1897 to 1952, had a special interest in poetry, especially that of the Celtic Revival, and penned several works on the subject while maintaining a correspondence with some of the movement’s leading members. In 1909, the literary journal The Pathfinder, published by the University Press of Sewanee Tennessee, published Weygandt’s essay “Mangan: The Irish Poe” about Irish poet James Clarence Mangan. 

 

Folded. With the original envelope. In very good condition and rare.

 

Item #20142  


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