Eglinton, John (1868-1961) by Sullivan, Robert

John Eglinton 1868-1961 William Kirkpatrick Magee, who chose the pseudonym by which he became almost exclusively known, was born in Dublin. He was the son of a Presbyterian minister and attended the same school as W.B.Yeats, with whom he was to have a long-standing debate over the nature of the Irish Literary Revival. In short, he contested what became known as the of his contemporaries and advocated a more universalistic, cosmopolitan subject matter for the Irish Renaissance. The various positions taken up by him, AE, and Yeats, are laid out in (1898). He was co-editor of the short-lived literary journal , during which time he turned down Joyce’s , remarking, He did publish a poem by Joyce, however, and paid him a guinea for the privilege. Joyce in his turn featured Eglinton in his poem and is attributed with the following limerick: John Eglinton cultural nationalism Literary Ideals in Ireland Dana (May 1904-April 1905) A Portrait of the Artist I cannot print what I can’t understand. The Holy Office There once was a Celtic librarian Whose essays were voted Spencerian His name is Magee But it seems that to me He’s a flavour that’s more Presbyterian. Joyce also has Magee/Eglinton appear in the episode in , a realistic touch since Eglinton was at first sub-, then head-librarian in the National Library. It was to this library that the young Joyce walked on that fateful day in 1904 when he had to leave the Martello Tower he shared with Gogarty. According to Eglinton: His admiration for the younger writer is captured in some remarks he made to Gogarty during this period: Eglinton remained at his position in the library until 1922 when he left for Bournemouth in England, apparently in protest at the inauguration of the Irish Free State. From 1922 until 1929 he published in . He died in exile at the ripe old age of 93. Scylla and Charybdis Ulysses One morning, just as the National Library opened, Joyce was announced; he seemed to wish for somebody to talk to, and related quite ingenuously how in the early hours of the morning he had been thrown out of the tower, and had walked into town from Sandycove. There is something sublime in Joyce’s standing alone. Dublin Letters The Dial It was no doubt Eglinton’s contentious nature, particularly in regard to the future of Irish literature, that earned him the sobriquet by his sometime adversary George Moore, who also described Eglinton as the This latter description certainly fits well the subject matter of Eglinton’s early publications, and , both of which deal with man’s place in nature. The an essay that appears in , is perhaps the most succinct statement on his opposition to a Nationalist literature (). He also wrote which contains essays on the early and later Joyce, and . contrairy John Thoreau of the suburbs. Two Essays on the Remnant (1894) Pebbles from a Brook (1901) De-Davisisation of Irish Literature, Bards and Saints (1906) The ancient language of the Celt is no longer the language of Irish nationality. And in fact it never was… Irish Literary Portraits (1935) A Memoir of AE (1937) Although Eglinton did not contribute a great deal to he is mentioned several times in its pages, which can be found by searching his name. There is a piece entitled (), a rumination on humanism, among other matters, and a letter from him () on an on-going religious debate. The New Age, The New Age 13.11 15.04 —Robert Sullivan Sources Gonzalez, Alexander G. Ed. . Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook Princess Grace Irish Library (Monaco)

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