James Stephens (?1880-1950)



Padraic Colum
Richard Kain
Patricia Ann McFate
Richard Finneran
Patrick Rafroidi
Jochen Achilles
J. W. Foster
Brigit Bramsbäck
Werner Huber
Derek John
Gerry Nolan
Frances Ferguson


Padraic Colum, Preface to Mary, Mary (NY: Boni & Liveright [1917]) - being the American [2nd] edition of The Charwoman’s Daughter: ‘If any of James Stephens’ books might be thought to have need of an Introduction it would be the delightful story that is called “Mary, Mary” on one side of the Atlantic Ocean and “The Charwoman’s Daughter” on the other. It was written in 1910, when the author was known as the poet of “Insurrections” and the writer of a few of the mordant studies that belong to a later book, “Here Are Ladies”. In 1911 four people came together to establish “The Irish Review.” They were David Houston, Thomas MacDonagh, James Stephens and the present writer. James Stephens mentioned that he could hand over some stuff for publication. The “stuff” was the book in hand. It came out as a serial in the second number with the title “Mary, A Story”, ran for a twelvemonth and did much to make the fortune (if a review that perished after a career of four years ever had its fortune made) of “The Irish Review.”

Cont. (Colum, Intro. to Mary, Mary, 1919): [...I] it is not enough to go with Mary to Stephen’s Green and watch the young ducks “pick up nothing with the greatest eagerness and swallow it with the greatest delight,” and after that to notice that the ring priced one Hundred Pounds has been taken from the Jewellers’ window, and then stand outside the theatre with her and her mother and make up with them thm the story of the plays from the pictures on the posters? - plays of mystery and imagination they must have surely seen. / Then of course there is always Mary’s mother [...] Mrs Makebelieve has and holds all the privileges of the poor and the lonely. Moreover, she is the eternal Charwoman. “She could not remain for any length of time in peoples’ [sic] employment without being troubled by the fact that these folk had houses of their own and were actually employing her in a menial capacity.” Mrs Makebelieve is, I think, a typical figure. She is the invarnation of the pride and liveliness and imaginative exuberance that permit the poor to live.

 Cont. (Colum, Intro. to Mary, Mary, 1919): How poor are Mary and Mrs Makebelieve? [.../] Yes, poverty was the state in which Mary and Mrs Makebelieve existed, but freedom was the other side of that poverty. They had not to set the bounds of realization upon their wishes. They were not shut off, as too many of us are, from the adventure and the enchantment that are in things. A broken mirror upon the wall of a bare room! It is, after all, that wonder of wonders, a think. But one cannot convey to those who have not known the wonder, how wonderful a mere thing is! A child who has watched and watched the face of a grandfather’s clock, stopped before he was born, feels this wonder. To grown folk and to those who have many possessions the things they own are lumber, some more convenient, some more decorative than others. But to those who have few possessions things are familiars and have an intimate history. Hence it is only the poor or only unspoiled children that have the full freedom of things - who can enter into their adventure and enchantment. Mary and her mother have this franchise. And for this reason also Mary, Mary has an inner resemblance to a folk-tale. For the folk-tale, shaped as it has been by the poor and by unspoiled people, reveals always the adventure and the enchantment of things. [...]

Cont. (Colum, Intro. to Mary, Mary, 1919): James Stephens brought a fresh and distinctive element into the new Irish literature - an imaginative exuberance that in its rush of expression became extravagant, witty, picturesque and lovely. [...] He is the only author I have ever known whose talk is like his books. The prodigality of humour, intuition and searching thought that he puts into his pages he also puts into what he says. And he is the only man I ever met who can sing his stories as well as tell them. Like the rest of the Irish writers of to-day, what he writes has a sense of spiritual equality as amongst all men and women - a sense of a democracy that is inherent in the world. [Signed; New York, September 1917.] (See also digital copy at Gutenberg Project - online; accessed 11.20.2020.)

[ See full version with page images and digital text - in this frame or separate window. ]


Richard Kain, Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce (Oklahoma UP 1962; Newton Abbot: David Charles 1972): ‘James Stephens concluded his eyewitness account with the prophecy that, though the country was not yet sympathetic, “in a few weeks she will be, and her heart, which was withering, will be warmed by the knowledge that men have thought her worth dying for.” The executions of the leaders, sickeningly spaced over a period of ten days, soon changed the mood of the country. Douglas Goldring, the English novelist, arrived one month later to find Dubliners already revering the victims, standing thoughtfully before their pictures in the shop windows. Stephens confessed to Goldring that he was ashamed of not being among the fighters. He should, he thought, have been in one of the three places, “in my grave, in jail, or on the roofs.”’ (p.127; citing Dublin Explorations and Reflections by “An Englishman” [viz., Maurice Goldring], 1917). [Cont.]

Richard Kain (Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, 1962, 1972) - cont.: ‘In The Crock of Gold (1912) the iridescent imagination of James Stephens plays upon talkative and silent philosophers, old women with stones in their boots, and children whose eyes are being awakened to the beauty of existence. This fantasy is deservedly one of the most popular of Irish books. As a poet, Stephens is equally original. Fairies and satyrs and stamping centaurs, soaring birds and the apple at the very end of the bough make his verses little philosophic fables of the love of life. There is technical virtuosity too, as in “Arpeggio,” a sequence of dancing lines only one or two syllables long, or in the thirteenline apostrophe - without a verb - of “The Main Deep”: “… long-rolling / Steady-pouring / Deep trenched …”’ (p.168.)

Patricia Ann McFate, writes that ‘While most readers owe their knowledge of the Deirdre legend to the works of W. B. Yeats, John Synge, James Stephens, and George Russell, the critics who have examined these literary versions have frequently been concerned with how unlike the ancient sources they really are. Even those who cite the works as representative of the Irish Literary Revival consider them as outside of or in opposition to the Gaelic legends themselves. / This is particularly ironic in the case of James Stephens’s novel Deirdre.’ ( McFate, ‘James Stephens’s Deirdre’, in Éire-Ireland, 4, 3, Autumn 1969, pp.87-93; p.87.)

—See further short extracts at Palgrave publisher - online; accessed 05.06.2020.

[ top ]

Augustine Martin, ‘The Crock of Gold: Fifty Years After’, in Colby Library Quarterly , 6, 4 (1962): ‘One does not have to probe deeply to recognize the book’s secret. Apart from its primary achievement in weaving an atmosphere of unassailable fantasy, the book owes its triumph to its superb comic characterization, the Philosopher. This irresistible old cod stands at the center of the book and from him emanates an infectious drollery that seems to imbue his whole fabulous world with a sense of enlightened absurdity. No man quite like the Philosopher ever lived but - and this is the point of radical fantasy - within the structure of his world he is utterly real, utterly convincing; he stands for all that is garrulous, argumentative and imperturbable in man and he also shares with such fellow immortals as Pickwick, Mole, Fursey, and Bottom the weaver, that divine innocence that is a shield against all vicissitude and that makes an eternal appeal to the embattled innocence in man. The Philosopher’s is a subtle innocence. He not [156] only knows everything in theory but he can reduce everything to theory. His is the sort of brain that can neatly field any new suggestion however dangerous and render it harmless by fitting it into the elaborate, never-ending thought sequences that are his mind. / He is the purest of stoics whether replying with maddening imperturbability to his wife’s abuse, digressing superbly on the subject of clothing in the presence of Pan, or holding forth with intemperate calmness on the dispensability of policemen while being borne along beneath one of their colossal arms. Only once is his tranquillity ruffied, and that is when the power of Pan sets him pondering the naked beauty of Caitilin. When he runs in terror from the cave of the god it is not because his argumentative powers have failed him but because Pan threatens him with a weapon that is not of the mind. The incident is so finely written that I quote it in full. Not only does it give us a glimpse of Stephens’s dialogue and characterization but it contains a good deal of the book’s message.’ (pp.155-56; see full-text version in RICORSO Library > “Criticism” - as attached.)

Note: Donald Morse quotes Martin’s opening observation that The Crock of Gold ‘is one of the few Irish prose works - perhaps the only one - to survive in print long enough to celebrate its golden jubilee’. (Colby Quarterly, 6, 4, 1962, pp.148-49; quoted in Morse, ‘Making the Familiar Unfamiliar: The Fantastic in Four Twentieth-century Irish Novels’, in That Other World: The Supernatural and the Fantastic in Irish Literature, ed. Bruce Stewart, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1998, p.269.)

Augustine Martin, ‘The Short Stories of James Stephens’, in Colby Library Quarterly, Vol. 6 (Dec. 1963): "It is this. With two notable exceptions Stephens’s short stories are extremely brief flights. There is no expansiveness or amplitude in them and this is connected, whether as cause or effect, with the tight rein he keeps on his characters. He seldom allows them to talk, preferring the neatness of his own oratio obliqua. We sometimes feel that they have no existence outside the actual events of the story and that within it they have no more life or volition than the author allows them from line to line. In other words, Stephens bears the same relationship to his characters as the puppet master to his puppets; he manipulates them. It wasn’t that he could not handle dialogue; whenever he used it he displayed miraculous authenticity. He probably felt that if he let them talk too much they would get out of control and upset the balance of his story. The one story in the piece where dialogue is used [346] extensively is “Three Lovers Who Lost” and it, in fact, was produced as a one-act play entitled Julia Elizabeth. The dialogue is authentic as anything in O’Casey though it has not his poetic verve and vividness.’ [Cont.]

Augustine Martin (‘The Short Stories of James Stephens’, in Colby Quarterly, Dec. 1963) - cont.: ‘This quality of tightness and constraint in Stephens’s stories must be viewed in relation to the themes he chooses and it is in the themes that its justification lies. The themes are domestic ones constantly exploring the twisted, involuted conflicts between man and wife. “Spouse maddened by spouse, this is a dominant theme with Stephens”, writes Robert Farren of his poetry, and it is even truer of his short stories. The conflict is usually confined to two, the incompatible husband and wife; children seldom appear to complicate the issues and only an occasional lover encroaches. There is a claustrophobic atmosphere generated of necessity, an atmosphere that precludes expansiveness.

Augustine Martin (‘The Short Stories of James Stephens’, in Colby Quarterly, Dec. 1963) - cont.: ‘The stories, then, are largely an emotional dialogue and they are largely typified and crystallized by his much anthologized poem “Nora Crionna.” His obsession with this theme seems to be bound up with a deep-rooted notion he had about an underlying dualism in the universe, a system of polarities. If all his incidental aphorisms were collected, ninety percent of them would be found to deal with the concept. It can be crudely stated thus: the whole world is organized on a system of opposites and these opposites are constantly at war; Spirit versus Matter, God versus Devil, Good versus Evil, and finally the human incarnation of the conflict, Man versus Woman. The law in nature, therefore, is that man and woman are constantly engaged in a war of loving hatred. The struggle proceeds through all his stories and it gets its most extensive and perhaps definitive treatment in the violent tenderness that existed between Patsy McCann and Eileen McCooley in The Demi-Gods. The notion gets its support from his theosophical doctrines, it underlies the thought of Plotinus whom his friend Stephen McKenna was translating, and it recurs in the various mystical systems of the East of which, under AE’s influence, Stephens had a devotee’s knowledge. However, as he almost certainly spent his youth in the jungle of a Dublin tenement, he may have seen this principle in colorful and brawling action before he found it embodied in a system of thought.’ (p.347; see full-text version in RICORSO Library > “Criticism” - as attached.)

Augustine Martin, James Stephens: A Critical Study (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield 1977) - on The Crock of Gold: ‘The book’s last flourish comes through the narrative voice where Blakean rhetoric, Irish myth, and a wry note of comedy is blended into the pattern, and the allegory enacts its last gesture.’ (p.54; quoted in Donald Morse, op. cit. 1998, idem.)

[ top ]

Richard Finneran, ‘James Joyce and James Stephens: The Record of a Friendship with Unpublished Letters from Joyce to Stephens’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 11, 3 (Spring 1974), pp.279-92.
 
—Available at JSTOR - online; accessed 02.09.2020.

Patrick Rafroidi, ‘The Irish Short Story in English: The Birth of a New Tradition’, in Terence Brown & Rafroidi, eds., The Irish Short Story (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1979): James Stephens’ novel The Crock of Gold (1912) and the not easily classified work In The Land of Youth (1924) show an abundant Gaelic influence. Neither one of them however is simply imitation, the personal themes of the author, like Time and the condemnation of Mercantilism, are always close to the surface or even dominant and the plot is always original. Straddling the frontier of the real and the imaginary, his short stories proper also betray his memory of his readings of ancestral legends. This is especially true of Desire ... the piece at the start of Etched in Moonlight (p.20).

Léon Ó Bróin, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland (1985), Alice Stopford Green impressed by Insurrection. ‘The picture of the week day by day seems to be very good, and his conclusions, too, seem very fair. The sad part is that all the recommendations for a hopeful future that he suggests have not been carried out, just the reverse; and that the opportunity is gone for ever. And you can’t fairly put all the blame on the Irish for their lack of cohesion, as people like to do.’ What no doubt left a mark on her was Stephen’s avowal that there was no future for Ireland until the question of her freedom had by some means been settled, for that ideal had captured the imagination of the race. Stephens dismissed criticism of the leaders of the insurrection. Three of these whom he knew personally were more scholars than thinkers, and more thinkers than men of action, but they were good men and willed no evil. Their nominal President [MacNeill] was a good man too […] accused of treachery […] but not [a] traitor […] German intrigue and money and counted for so little as to be negligible. (p.129.)

[ top ]

Jochen Achilles, ‘The Charwoman’s Daughter and the Emergence of National Psychology’, in Irish University Review 11, 2 (Autumn 1981), pp.184-97
 
Achilles
—Available at JSTOR -online; accessed 24.09.2020.

[ top ]

J. W. Foster, Fictions of the Irish Literary Revival: A Changeling Art (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1987) - Chapter: ‘Mount of Transfiguration: The Writer as Fabulist - W. B. Yeats & James Stephens ’ [IV: 12], pp.236-72.
           [...]
See more page-images - as attached].
 
Partial transcription: [...] It is as if the policeman’s social superiority pretends to a surrogate fatherhood, but he is expelled by the women from the Electra relationship because the female is stronger than the male, despite this sadistic daydream of the policeman’s: [Here quotes:]
“He would gladly have beaten her into submission ... But she was out of reach; has hand, high-flung as it might be, could not get at her. (Charwoman’s Daughter, pp.100-01.)
This should make us recall the early scene in which Mary, who feels “a terrible attraction about the idea of being hit by a man” (p.18), asks her mother if a man every struck her and her mother collapses in tears, which imply that someone, perhaps her husband, had. This is a bit of working-class realism, but Mary’s masochistic fantasy is a counterpart of the policeman’s contemplated sadism, and this painful complementarity is an aspect of the male-female relationship in Stephens. In spite of his popularity as a writer of fairy stories, Stephens had a near pornographical interest in bondage and sado-masochism; for a scene comparable to the above, we might think of that in The Crock of Gold in which the Thin Woman momentarily abases herself sexually before the Third Absolute. When the male in Stephens is merely masculine and egoistic, as in the policeman in The Charwoman’s Daughter, the female can unexpectedly defeat him, just as the courage possessed by the lodger, who wins Mary [256] and is beaten bu the policeman, is finally and unexpectedly stronger than mere strength (and as Ireland is stronger than her English master). Mary who has escaped the thrall of her mother’s fantasies is not likely to submit to the policeman’s threadbare social and sexual fantasies.
 Stephens intends Mary to grow out of her mother’s tyrannizing fantasy and her own egoistical fantasy into real and self-transcending relationships. [...] And while we can accept the policeman is filled with “self-love”, it is harder to accept him as evil, as Stephens directs us to do. The clear distinction between good and evil, belongs in the fairy tale, which in The Charwoman’s Daughter Stephens seemingly parodied in his beginning but reinstates in his ending. The policeman is needed, not only as a catalyst in Mary’s development but because “next to good the most valuable factor in life is evil.” (p.127, a Blakean epigrama that the realism of the novel cannot justify. Pyschologically the policeman is rather pathetic.
 The policeman is of course a recurrent and hated figure in Stephens’ ficiton. He representes the detested law, but in his brittle arrogance he is like a modern verson of the old hero of whom Stephens was so suspicious, a vestige from the heroic saga that makes as we have seen in Deirdre, a strange bedfellow with the modern novel. In The Charwoman’s Daughter, the policeman more realistically (if confusingly) is also a member of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, an agency of the alien British Empire which as a military and commercial entity must have seemed to [257] Stephens to be egoism writ large. The policeman’s rival in love, the lodger, is on this play an equally realistic figure, an Irish nationalist whose views could be, and possibly are meant to be, Pearse’s: “Of Ireland he sometimes spoke with the fervour which would be outrageous if addressed to a woman .... thrilled him to a tempest of pity and love.” (p.107.)
Of England he spoke with something like stupefaction: as a child cowering in a dark wood tells of the ogre who has slain his father and carried his mother away to a drear captivity in his castle of bones - so he spoke of England. He saw an Englishman stalking hideously forward with a princess tucked under each arm, while their brother and their knights were netted in enchangment and slept heedless of the wrongs done to their ladies nad of the defacement of their shields. .. “Alas, alas and alas, for the once proud people of Banba!” (p.107.)
 The lodger is ironically presented, the irony extended to the national st fanaticism of real life. [...] Yet even the lodger’s beating by the policeman hardly brings him squarely to earth since after it he is extolled by Mary and her mother “until he glowed again in the full satisfaction of heroism” (p.120) - another example of make-believe as well as of the somewhat masochistic Stephensian conjunction of heroism and victimisation. [...] Moreover, the deus ex machina, the legacy from an American uncle, which Stephens lamely justifies by a defense of the unexpected in life, firmly returns the novel to the realm of the fairy tale in which transformation is independent of the rooted forces of environment. This set the psychological insights at [258] naught and betrays realism into the damp hands of sentimentality that corrupts modern fairy tales. (pp.258-59.)
See longer extracts - as attached.

Brigit Bramsback, ‘James Stephens and Paris: Insight [...] from Letters to Thomas Bodkin’, in Ireland and France - A Bountiful Friendship: Essays in Honour of Patrick Rafroidi, ed. Barbara Hayley & Christopher Murray (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992), pp.93-106: Stephens was learning French in Paris, with the help of Bodkin. [...] Stephens jumped with delight at the suggestion made to him by Bodkin in June 1915 to apply for the Registrarship of the National Gallery of Ireland [...] one of the Gallery governors fiercely resisted his candidature; he sent a letter of withdrawal via Bodkin which Bodkin however did not forward; appointed to the position in August 1915, first as Unestablished Registrar, then as Established Reg., and finally as Accounting Officer. Moved to London in 1925. Stephens broke with Bodkin after a flare-up at the Gallery in 1924, concerning the sell-on price of his MSS in America. After his death, Mrs Stephens supplied papers to Reginald Pound, son of Ezra, for Life and Letters of James Stephens, around Jan. 1954, but nothing came of it.

[ top ]

Werner Huber, ‘Towards a “Comédie Humaine of Ireland”: The Politics of James Stephens’s Early Novels’, in Troubled Histories, Troubled Fictions: Twentieth-century Anglo-Irish Prose, ed. Theo d’ Haen, José Lanters [The Literature of Politics and the Politics of Literature, Vol. 4] (Amsterdam & Atlanta, GA: Rodopi 1995), pp.95-104.
 
Available in Google Books - online; accessed 24.09.2020.
Partial transciption [includes foregoing remarks]:

[Quotes Stephens:] ‘After hunger, there is no there is no subject in which an artist or a philosopher might more fruitfully interest himself than the sexual relations in of humanity. [...] intent on construction, have expressed sex as a liaison, and compressed it to a formula which is very easy to handle.’ (“The Old Woman’s Money”, in Uncollected Prose of James Stephens, ed. McFate,Vol. I, Gill & Macmillan 1983, pp.125-128; p.127.)

This sounds just like another of those incontrovertible statements from the quirky persona of the Old Philosopher, which Stephens created for a series of [97] sem-humours articles in Arthur Griffin's Sinn Fein and some of which he integrated into parts of The Crock of Gold and Here Are Ladies, a cycle of shrto stories published in 1913. In fact, he anticipates here what the Viennese Tweedledum, to keep the Joycean connection alive, diagnosed at the most basic of all human motics and motifs.

[Quotes Freud:] In what was at first my utter perplexity, I took as my starting-point a saying of the poet-philosopher, Schiller, that ‘hunger and love are what moves the world’. Hunger could be taken to represent the instincts which aim at preserving the individual; while love strives after objects, and its chief function, favoured in every way by nature, is the preservation of the species. Thus, to begin with, ego-instincts and object-instincts confronted each other. [Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, ed. and trans. James Strachey, NY 1962, p.64.]

In accordance with the polarized or even Manichaean structures of Stephens's universe, sexual relations are basically antagonistic. We find this motif throughout Stephens's prose fictions either explicitly as comments uttered by the omniscient authorial voice or by fictional characters themselves and implicitly in the narrative construction of husband-wife or the lover-beloved relationships. [Goes on to illustrate with the story from The Demi-Gods which the angel Finaun tells of the archetypal couple and their lapse into sexual awareness.] (Huber, op. cit., p.98.]

[..]

The tension between the sexes - we might as well call it “the battle of the sexes” - is considered rather a good thing, and by incorporating it into the context of his dualistic world-view Stephens is avoiding some of the embarrassing simplicity and triviality inherent in this motif.

All three early novels centre round the story of a female protagonists’s ‘transition from the careless simplicity of girlhood to the equally careless but complex business of adolescence.’ (Charwoman's Daughter, intro. Augustine Martin, Dublin 1972.) Rather than concentrate on the sexual awakening and the discovering of their bodies Stephens portrays with great diligence the far-reaching mental and social implications of his protagonists' coming of age. The recurrence of this structural patter, this master-plot is significant and draws attention to Stephens's concern with women's role in society. The plot of The Charwoman's Daugher, for example, is dominated by strong and independent women. The Makebelieves, mere et fille, are complemented by the redoubtable Mrs Cafferty, who manages a very large household single-handed. As a demonstration of female self-reliance and social responsibility the novel may be read against the background of the fight for women's suffrage. The Charwoman's Daughter would then become nothing less than a feminist novel [Ftn. cites Rebecca West’s review in Freewoman: A Weekly Feminist Review (4 April 1912).] There is also plenty of external evidence to corroborate this reading. Between May 1911 and March 1912, which is roughly the period during which The Charwoman’s Daughter was serialised in the Irish Review, women’s suffrage was at the centre of the political debate at Westminster. The matter was raised in a petition by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and in the Second and Third Conciliation Bills, but soon it was overshadowed by negotiations and compromises on the Home Rule Bill. In June 1912, Stephens openly sided with the suffragette movement in a series of polemical articles for The Irish Citizen entiteld “The Populace Mind”. With regard to the question of [99] women’s rights in particular, the articles do not yield any new arguments. It is interesting to note, however, what the main themes occupying Stephens’ mind at that period are, howthey are linked to similar concatenations and how they leave their traces in his fictional writings. ( pp.98-99.).

Huber goes on to quote Stephens on the relation between the ‘populace mind’ and feminism in these terms: ‘Further, the populace mind say, that your movement [i.e., the suffrage movement] is trying to provoke warfare between man and woman. Indeed, they must be saying sometinig, for garrulity is their chief characteristic. There is, and there always has been, antagonism between man and woman, but the name of that warfare is not Suffrage, but Sex, and the intensifying of that conflict makes also for progress. The forces of life swing eternally to battle. It is the matrimony of love and hate, the male and female principles of existence, which makes for progress, and in this matter the women’s agitation for human rights has nothing whatever to do. [...]’ (Stephens, “The Populace Mind: II”, in Uncoll. Prose, I, pp.99-100; here 99-100 [recte].

[ top ]

Derek John, ‘James Stephens (1880-1950)’, in The Green Book: Writings on Irish Gothic [...] (Samhain 2018), pp.80-88.
 
Gerry Nolan, ‘Apocalypse in James Stephens: 1912-1914’, in Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (HJEAS 8.2.2020), pp.5-17.
 
 
—Available at JSTOR - online; accessed 24.09.2020.
 
—Available at JSTOR - online; accessed 13.10.2020.
 
Gerry Nolan writes (as above): ‘In the final pages of The Crock of Gold, Stephens penned an inspired proclamation of an Irish Republic that would prove to be very different from the Proclamation of a Republic which was read out by Padraic Pearse on the steps of Dublin’s General Post Office in 1916. The occasion for Stephen's proclamation was the joyful invasion of Dublin by the god Angus Og and his human lover Caitilin that had set out from the mountain of Kilmasheogue after the hosting of the Sihhe [sic]. As the motley army of Celtic gods and hangers-on are about to descend on the noisy city and multitude in Dublin, through the goat tracks and little boreens and curving roads, the proclamation is spelt out for all Dubliners and indeed, for All Irelanders. [quotes ending.]’ (‘Apocalypse in James Stephens: 1912-1914’, in HJEAS, 8.2.2020, pp.5-17.p.5)

[ top ]

Frances Ferguson, ‘Eimar O’Duffy and the Waste of 1916’ [chap.], in Remembering Revolution: Dissent, Culture and Nationalism in the Irish Free State (Oxford UP 2015): ‘While in Paris, [Eimar] O’Duffy received the news that the manuscript of King Goshawk had been accepted by London publishers Macmillan. His work would join a publication list of distinguished books taking a heterodox line on nationalism, including four of James Stephens’ novels. [...] Writing under the pseudonym Y.O., George Russell also expressed amusement but dropped in a casual accusation of plagiarism, claiming that O’Duffy had taken the idea of writing about a philospher form Russell’s friend James Stephens’ The Crock of Gold. Although some parallels existed, (and were observed by the Manchester Guardian) the tone and analytic focus of the books was entirely different, and O’Duffy fiercely and convincingly denied Russell’s accusation.’ (p.72). Ftns: Russell, review of Goshawk by Eimar O’Duffy, in Irish Statesman, 23 Aug. 1926, p.164. O’Duffy, letter to the Editor, Irish Statesman (6 Nov. 1926), p.204.

[ top ]