Justin Huntly McCarthy

1860-1936 [var. 1869; err. Huntley]; son of Justin McCarthy, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and himself a Nationalist MP 1884-92; he began writng in 1881 and issued a successful play The Candidate (1884); his England Under Gladstone (1884) lays stress on the long-term effect of Gladstone’s early friendship with Daniel O’Connell; issued Hours with Great Irishmen, Ireland Since the Union [q.d.], and The Case for Home Rule; &c. [pamphlets];

also wrote numerous novels incl. Lily Lass (1889), set in the days of Young Ireland and opening with the American Civil War; A London Legend (1895), in the pattern of his father’s fiction, and The Royal Christopher (1896); also The Illustrious O’Hagan (1905), narrating the life of Monsieur Chevalier O’Hagan, a Wild Goose, at the Court of Schlafingen; The Proud Prince (1909), an un-historical romance set in Sicily of the Middle Ages;

issued The O’Flynn (1910), about an Irish ‘wild goose’ in Austria; also The Fair Irish Maid (1912), in which the title-character Grania, an heiress, remains faithful to her ne’er-do-well Irish swain the Fenian Dennis Tirowen in spite of being wooing by an English earl; McCarthy’s elegy to Michael Davitt is prefixed to Francis Sheehy-Skeffington’s (Davitt, 1908);

he had a late success with If I Were King (1922), a play which was next adapted as a musical by Russell Janney (The Vagabond King, 1929) and later as a silent film with John Barrymore as François Villon opposite Marceline Day (The Beloved Rogue, 1929, dir. Alan Crosman). JMC IF SUTH [FDA]

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  • The Candidate (1884).
  • If I Were King: A Romantic Play in Four Acts (1922) [adapted by Russell Janney as a The Vagabond King: A Musical Play Founded upon Justin Huntly McCarthy's "Romance If I Were King" (1929); also adapted for silent film as The Beloved Rogue, with Marceline Day and John Barrymore, as François Villon in the court of Louis XI [online].
  • A London Legend (1895; 2nd edn. 1896), viii, 312pp.
  • A Woman of Impulse (1895).
  • Marjorie (1903).
  • The Lady of Loyalty House: A Novel (1904).
  • Dryad (NY: Harper & Bros. [MCMV] 1905) [available online]
    The Illustrious O’Hagan (London: Hurst & Blacket 1905).
  • Flower of France (New York ; London: Harper & Bros. 1906), 330pp.
  • Needles and Pins: A Novel (1907).
  • The Proud Prince (London: Collier 1909) (viii), 247pp..
  • The O’Flynn (London: Hurst & Blackett; NY: Harper Bros. 1910) [available online].
  • The Fair Irish Maid (1911).
  • The King over the Water: or, The Marriage of Mr. Melancholy (NY: Harper & Bros [MCMXI] 1911).
  • A Health Unto His Majesty (London: Hurst and Blackett 1912), viii, 363pp.
  • Calling the Tune (1913).
  • In Spacious Times (1916).
  • Henry Elizabeth (London: Hurst & Blackett [1920]), 288pp.
  • Truth - and The Other Thing: A Novel (1924).

Also Proud Prince [q.d.]; Seraphica [q.d.]; Gorgeous Borzia [q.d.]; The Riddling Ring [q.d.].

  • England Under Gladstone (1884), [7], 356pp.
  • Hours with Great Irishmen [q.d.].
  • Ireland Since the Union [q.d.].
  • The Case for Home Rule [q.d.].
  • Lady Burton's edition of her Husband's Arabian Nights: Translated Literally from the Arabic [and] prepared for household reading by Justin Huntly McCarthy (1886, 1887).
  • Ghazels from the Divan of Hafiz, done into English by Justin Huntly McCarthy (London: Alfred Nutt 1893); [intro.],
  • The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1889, 1896).
  • [trans.,] The God of Love (NY & London: Harper & Bros. 1909), 345pp. [after Dante]

[ Much of Justin Huntly McCarthy’s fiction is available on Internet Archive - online. ]

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Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde (Shannon IUP 1974), Justin Huntly [sic] McCarthy, ‘The Irish Language and Literature’, praises together with the classical body of Irish legend and the ‘phantasy’ and ‘sad sweetness’ of the tale of Oisin, McHale’s trans. of Homer, ‘One of the finest translations of the Iliad, or rather a portion of the Iliad, into any foreign language is the late Archbishop M’Hale’s [McHale] Irish rendering of some of the early books of the great epic.’ (In Dublin University Review, Aug. 1885).

Note: Daly considers the publication of this article an important event in the revival [59] [Examples of verse included in this are given at pp.89-90]. Further quotes extensively from Hyde’s enthusiastic response to it article in which he outlines the idea later embodied in his Love Songs of Connacht, ‘The sympathetic letter [sic] of Mr Justin Huntly McCarthy ... &c.’ The article, appearing in the Oct. issue, is signed An Chraoihhin Aoibhinn. [Daly, op. cit., p.60-62; see under Hyde].

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The Irish Fair Maid (1911): ‘Over the soft greenness of the Kerry headlands, over the sober greyness of the Atlantic Sea a thick mist prevailed. Its fine whiteness blurred all things out of custom, tempering harsh and familiar objects as cabin shoulder and haystack hump, to a subtle tenuity of texture an outline that gave them a sweetness and strangeness akin to the rare visions of delicate dreams, melting them into castle and palace and pagoda of fairyland with elfish ease.’ [Opening sentence; see Note, infra.]

The Irish Language and Literature’: ‘I should not, for my part, wish Ireland to be behindhand with any other coutnry in what is called classical literature ... One of the finest translations of the Iliad, or rather of portion of the Iliad, into any foreign language is the late Archbishop M’Hale’s Irish rendering of some of the early books of the great epic. But what I should like all Irishmen, and especially all young Irishmen, to remember is, that Ireland would not lack poetical literature of the finest and of the noblest, even if the hexameters of the singer of Smyrna -/‘The old man who, clearest-souled of men, Saw the wide prospect and the Asian fen, And Tmolus Hill, and Smyrna Bay, though blind’-/had never been rendered in the language of Oisin./To my mind there are no more fascinating legends in any literature that I know of - and I have studied the literatures of many countries - than the legends which deal with Finn, the son of Coul, and the Feni, his companions. The Feni, as I have written elsewhere, are strange and shadowy figures, Ossianic ghosts, moving in dusky vales, or along hillsides clothed with echoing woods, and seamed with the manycoloured tides of rearing streams [...]/Cucullain is as fine a hero as Theseus; Queen Maev is no less marvellous than Helen; the fate of the children of Tureen is as grim as the fortunes of the Heraclidae. Nor must I forget that wonderful story of the adventures of Oisin in the Land of Youth, a legend which, for phantasy, for the magic of poetic imagination, and for sweet sadness, has not to my mind, its superior among all the legends of the earth - all that I, at least, am acquainted with.’ (In Dublin University Review, [Oct.] 1885; cited in Daly, op. cit., 1974, pp.58-59.)

The King over the Water (NY: Harper & Brothers 1911): ‘There are some pages in the hand of write of Colonel Beamish O’Carroll that can serve aptly as prelude for what is to follow. Colonel Beamish held his command in Dillon's regiment in France in the early years of the eighteenth century ...’ (Chap. 1; p.1; available at Internet Archive - online.]

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Irish Literature, gen ed. Justin McCarthy [père] (Washington & NY: 1904), gives extracts from Outline of Irish History, and from Lily Lass[n.d.]

Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), England Under Gladstone (1884); Hours with Great Irishmen; Ireland Since the Union; The Case for Home Rule; etc.; IF suggests that he has more plays, ‘theat. world claimed him wholly’; novels listed, Lily Lass (London: Chatto & Windus 1889) [romance of Young Ireland in Cork]; The Illustrious O’Hagan (London: Hurst & Blacket 1905); [cosmpolitan adventures of Irishmen in European courts]; The O’Flynn (London: Hurst & Blackett 1910) [swashbucking veteran of Austrian army, rival with Lord Sedgemouth for hand of Lady Benedetta Mountmichael, both rivals in service of James II]; The Fair Irish Maid (1911) [sic], , in which a Kerry maid becomes toast of London but remains faithful to her native swain who she finds penniless in the capital, securing the production of his play; written in McCarthy’s usual style of ‘gay romanticism’]. Brown speaks of many other novels, plays, and poetry volumes and remarks that the ‘theatrical world claimed him wholly’.

Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. 2] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), adds d.1936; play, If I Were King [n.d.] adapted as musical, and other novels, The Vagabond King and The King Across the Water (1911) [Charles Wogan rescues Princess Sobieska]; also Truth and the Other Thing (1924) [descendent of Casanova through marriage with Irish lady contracted in Dublin, 1764, reminisces about is and his ancestor’s experiences].

John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Longmans 1988; rep. 1989), give bio-data: ed. Univ. College, London; widely travelled, with orientalist interests; Nationalist MP; Lily Lass (1889), set in Young Ireland days, and opening in American Civil War; A London Legend (1895), reminiscent of his father’s Lady Disdain; The Royal Christopher (1896), derived from Stevenson’s Treasure Island. His wife Marie Cecilia, b. 1876, was a musichall artiste who wrote songs and tales for young people. BL 20.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2 , notes that he surprised many by his sudden switch to the anti-Parnellite party led by his father (p.328).

Eggeley Books (Cat. 44) lists A London Legend (1896), new edn., viii, 1-312pp.; The Proud Prince (Collier 1909) (viii), [1]-[247]pp., fairytale rom. of Sicily in Middle Ages, all imag. characters.

Belfast Public Library holds The Illustrious O’Hagan (London 1906) [sic]; The Fair Irish Maid (1912); The O’Flynn; The Riddling Ring; A Health onto His Majesty (1912).

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The Fair Irish Maid (1912), set 15 years after the Union; Grania educates Mr. Rubric, a regency friend of the Prince of Wales, in Irish matters such as the Merrow, the bansee, and the leprechaun; Sir William Doub[b]le, banker, is buying a round tower, in the South West of Ireland to add to the ‘madness of Muswell Hill’; Grania is taken to London and Paris with the Cloynes (Marcus Loveless, 5th Earl), where she is converted to ‘a perfect copy of typical lady of fashion’ whose Irish accent is ‘judged most delightful they ever heard’ in London; meets Prince of Wales, Byron, and Beau Brummel; ‘Grania O’Hara would by rights be a queen [of Celtic Ireland]’; ‘comes from a fighting line, most dangerous rebels in our dominions’ (Prinny, p. 328); appears in a play, The Buried City, by a young writer, Heritage. The round tower is introduced in Chap. 1 as a seen as a relic of ancient Irish phallic religion [for Quotation, see supra.]

Donald Torchiana, Backgrounds for Dubliners (1986), lists Life of Leo XIII (London: Bliss [1896]), which indicates that Leo expressed public distaste for the physical force reaction used against landlords [sic] like Captain Boycott (p.215).

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