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  • The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism
  • Online publication date: August 2014
  • pp 51-62


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3 The Irish Revival and Modernism

Rónán McDonald


The “Irish Revival” and “modernism” are an unlikely pairing. For the major critics of modernism in the mid-century, like Richard Ellmann or Hugh Kenner, the Irish modernists were modern insofar as they transcended their national background. Whereas the towering Irish modernists, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, took their lead from international, cosmopolitan, and generally metropolitan artistic currents, the revivalists were, in this view, nationalist, valorizing a rural and premodern Ireland swathed in cultural purity and twilit nostalgia. The opposition, often calcifying into reductive duality between Joyce the pioneering modernist and W. B. Yeats the belated Romantic, was buttressed variously by antipathy to the Revival by major modernist figures including Joyce himself, Beckett and Ezra Pound, and by the humanist universalizing approach of American criticism in the aftermath of World War II. What could be less “modernist” than that völkisch and insular movement against which many subsequent Irish writers, realist and experimental, set their teeth and often aimed their scorn? What is less “revivalist” than the deracinated Parisian bohemians, cocking a snoop at the provincial, confessional, conservative backwater that they had been so eager to escape?1

In the current critical climate, however, the two concepts have switched their polar charge from repulsion to attraction. The “Revival,” far from the opposite of “modernism,” is now typically regarded as an incubatory moment of it, its anti-modern ideology of a piece with the modernist disdain for bourgeois values and prefabricated realist forms. “What ‘British’ modernism there was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” asserts Terry Eagleton, “was largely of Irish origin.”2 What shifts in critical perspective allowed such a turnaround? How and why does the cleavage between Irish Revival and modernism now emphasize the joints rather than the divisions?

The Revival, or certain aspects of it, was caricatured and simplified by its detractors. Analysis of the historical context reveals that the cultural environment in Ireland from the 1890s to the 1920s, the decades usually signaled by the “Revival,” saw multifarious, hydra-headed enterprises, sometimes conflicting, sometimes synergetic. The cultural energies and anxieties that underpinned some of these enterprises resemble the wider European crisis of modernity, albeit shot through with the specificities of cultural nationalism and Ireland’s political struggles of the time. Both modernism and revivalism, though often seeking out the new and innovative, are wedded in their very warp and weft to ideas of the old. A central ideological plank of both movements is recoil, even horror, from aspects of the modern world, its homogeneity, its mindless mercantilism, and its materialist disenchantments. Both the Irish Revival and European modernism have aesthetic roots in French Symbolism and in the work of Darwin and Nietzsche; both reject empiricism, realism, and linear temporality; both seek alternatives to modern epistemologies; both are attracted to primitivism, and mythology and the occult, often as alternatives to conventional religion. And straddling both movements, fitting all these descriptors, stands Yeats, a dominating figure in both the Irish Revival and European modernism, though also, ironically, responsible for some of the later fixed ideas about the Revival that would allow for its tenacious caricature. In what follows, I hope first to explain why the Irish Revival and Irish modernism were construed as antithetical movements, and then to elucidate some of the contemporary tendencies in literary studies that have authorized a more dialectical sense of the connections between the two.


The Revival originates in the poems and ballads of Young Ireland, the antiquarianism of John O’Donovan (1806–61) and Eugene O’Curry (1794–1862), and the heroic histories of Standish James O’Grady (1846–1928). Despite this initial backward look, Ernest Boyd’s early history of the movement, Ireland’s Literary Renaissance (1916), emphasizes the “modernity” of the Revival compared to the Young Irelanders of the 1840s. However, it focuses on the national precedents for the national movement, obscuring the European context of which the Revival also, vitally, partook. From the influence of Henrik Ibsen on the Abbey Theatre to the Austro-Hungarian precedents for Arthur Griffith’s idea of a dual monarchy, we now recognize that the ideas inspiring early-twentieth-century Irish cultural and political separatism were often international.

Moreover, “nation building” can never simply be about a backward look, but must also be orientated toward the present and future. The sense of cultural possibility, of the inadequacy of inherited or imported forms and themes, was common to the Irish Revival and modernism. Both these variegated “movements” were shaped by societies and associations, small magazines and publishing ventures. It is tempting to follow Yeats’s lead and see the Revival resulting from unmoored political energies after Charles Stewart Parnell’s death in 1891; but this is contested terrain.3 At that time, several currents developed that sought to identify and celebrate a distinctly Irish mode of expression and thought: in literature, in theatre, in sport, in the Irish language, in economic organization. Yeats recalls being struck with “the sudden certainty that Ireland was to be like soft wax for years to come.”4 The malleability metaphor cleaves to the modern, suggestive of possibility and indeterminacy, rather than the fixed identity of essentialist nationalism. In 1892, Yeats set about molding the wax, founding the London-based Irish Literary Society with T. W. Rolleston and the veteran Young Irelander Charles Gavan Duffy, and the National Literary Society in Dublin, with Douglas Hyde as its first president. Hyde’s inaugural lecture, “The Necessity of De-Anglicising Ireland” (1892), one of the early Revival manifestos, asserted the need to recover Irish language and Irish customs and to resist the widespread mimicry of English taste. A key revivalist note had been struck – home rule, suspended in politics, would be achieved in culture.

Yeats’s wax attracted more than literary or dramatic hands. John Millington Synge captured the synergy between cultural, social, and economic movements when he claimed of the Gaelic League, the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, and the literary movement: “it is hard to find someone who is involved in only one of them, without also being interested in the others at the same time.”5 While these organizations had common members, there were also divisions, resentments and cultural distinctions. The Gaelic League, the movement to revive and promote the Irish language, was founded by Hyde and Eoin MacNeill in 1893, and would eventually thwart Hyde’s vision of nonalignment by becoming closely associated with nationalist politics, prompting his resignation in 1915. The League became the cultural home of middle-class Catholic nationalism, which took a suspicious stance toward the mandarin “Anglo-Irish” Revival led by Yeats and Lady Gregory, and stood against Yeats’s credo that a truly indigenous literature could be created in the English language. But the Gaelic Irish Revival was not, by that token, culturally protectionist or insular. Progressive Irish language revivalists like Patrick Pearse opposed Anglicization while embracing cosmopolitan values, seeking an Irish literature that would resist English imitation but for that very reason form part of European modernism.6

Therefore to imagine the Anglo-Irish and Gaelic-Irish Revivals as homogeneous forces lining up against one another is to underestimate how much common purpose they shared and also how much internal conflict there was on each side. A glance at the signal artistic institution of the Anglo-Irish Revival, the Abbey Theatre, reveals contesting positions and aesthetic agendas from the start. Yeats sought to incarnate an ideal, mythic theatre of the elite, written in verse with subjects from Irish mythology, but other early Abbey playwrights, such as Edward Martyn or Padraic Colum, were drawn to naturalist plays of rural life. The division between real and ideal, a drama of verisimilitude versus one of mythic verity, was a feature of the Abbey’s early development. That these controversies would resolve into a predominantly realist, rural ethos, with a high quotient of “PQ” (peasant quality), meant that the Abbey’s repertoire would later slide into self-caricature.

Later realist writers like Sean Ó Faoláin and Patrick Kavanagh and experimental modernists like Joyce and Beckett could invoke the caricature of a mistily romantic Revival not least to make space for their own creative projects. In that respect the Revival was constructed around an Oedipal opposition: those who came after sought to demythologize it, to contrast its investment in legend and folklore to the mess and murk of lived experience. So Seán O’Casey’s Dublin plays contrast revivalist-nationalist rhetoric of heroism with the squalid horrors of actual political violence; later, Kavanagh’s images of emotionally impoverished rural life repudiate the bucolic Arcadian ideal of the twilighters.

There are those who reject the Revival in the name of a harder social realism and those who reject it for avant-garde modernism. Firmly in the latter camp is Beckett, whose essay “Recent Irish Poetry” (1934) establishes an opposition between the benighted and sentimental “antiquarians” of the Revival and the modern poets he prized, those who were aware of “the rupture of the lines of communication,” who were emboldened enough to recognize the ineffability and truculence of the modern world.7 Beckett’s essay sets up an opposition between revivalism and modernism akin to that between local and metropolitan, delusory and profound. It was a mode of thinking that echoed a commonplace modernist hostility for the provincial, articulated for instance by Pound’s heralding of Joyce as one of the European moderns, rather than an “institution for the promotion of Irish peasant industries.”8

But the adoption of this binary by the young Beckett belies the influence on him of figures like Yeats, Synge, and O’Casey. His youthful visits to the Abbey Theatre were formative and it is not hard to hear echoes of Synge, the playwright who influenced him above all, in Beckett’s tramps and vagrants.9 Equally, Joyce’s early modernist disdain for the provincial revivalist ethos in “The Day of the Rabblement” (1901) and “The Holy Office” (1904) is complicated by the tautly responsive depictions of revivalist debates and personalities in Ulysses (1922). Episode Nine, “Scylla and Charybdis,” contains ripe parodies of Lady Gregory’s Kiltartanesque Hiberno-English, but it also puts Stephen Dedalus in dialogue with John Eglinton (William Magee) and Æ (George Russell), tacitly acknowledging that there is more to the literary movement than flowery-tongued peasant exoticism. Russell and Magee were both friends of Yeats and key figures of the Revival, and they took opposing views on its direction, with Magee urging it to repudiate its Celticist, cultural nationalist orientation for a more universal and scientific ethos.10 As Emer Nolan has pointed out, for all his studied internationalism and rejection of Irish insularity, Joyce’s relationship to the Revival and to Irish cultural nationalism defies easy binaries.11 Stephen Dedalus’s famous imperative at the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), “to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race” can, like Yeats’s wax, be read both in revivalist and modernist terms.12

If there are revivalist influences even in the most deracinated of the Irish modernists, then equally the great revivalists are attuned to the forces and concerns of international modernism. Synge wrote of Irish peasantry and was a founder of the Abbey with Yeats and Lady Gregory, but his work confounds the realist-idealist aesthetic divisions of that theatre. Unlike many of his fellow Protestant playwrights, he resisted “a purely, fantastical, unmodern, ideal, spring-dayish, Cuchulanoid National Theatre” and avoided direct treatment of Irish legend until his last, uncompleted play, Deirdre of the Sorrows (1910).13 Like Joyce or T. S. Eliot, his work infuses mythic elements into contemporary settings and idioms. The Playboy of the Western World (1907) evokes Christian and Oedipal archetypes without ever congealing into allegory. The metatheatrical, symbolical, strategically irresolute aspects of Playboy underwrite its status as a postcolonial modernist play.14 With its unsettling tragic and comic hybridities and its mixing of squalid social conditions and inflated poetic language, the play brings opposing tropes into explosive contact with each other, highlighting the precarity of all identities and the contingency of dramatic representation.

The cases of Synge and Hyde, both Protestant masters of the Irish language, indicate that the Anglo-Irish and Gaelic Irish Revivals do not line up neatly with Protestant versus Catholic divisions. But as bourgeois Catholic nationalism in Ireland gained political and cultural traction, sectarian divisions in the cultural and language movements emerged. At critical moments, such as during the Playboy riots, mutual mistrust broke into direct confrontation. Such moments allowed self-identifying “Irish-Irelanders” like D. P. Moran to deride the Revival as a project for an alien Ascendancy, more interested in self-serving romanticism and a foreign readership than in the lived experience of the real Ireland. If modernist critics saw the revivalists as mystifiers obsessed with provincial fantasy and romance, the Irish-Irelanders saw them as too detached, insufficiently immersed in the life of the real, if often hidden, Ireland. In Daniel Corkery’s view, colonized Ireland is more plastic, more uneven, more traumatized than the sentimental versions promulgated by the twilighters: “Everywhere in the mentality of Irish people are flux and uncertainty. Our national consciousness may be described, in a native phrase, as a quaking sod. It gives no footing.”15 The “quaking sod” (the metaphor evokes soft Irish bogland), unlike Yeats’s soft wax, indicates a precarious subjectivity rendered invisible and inarticulate by foreign dominance. The Revival project, he holds, is insufficient for the complexity of the condition in which Ireland emerged into modernity. Corkery sees the revivalists (though he makes a special case for Synge) as Ascendancy eavesdroppers inadequate to the opacity of a nation finding its identity in the aftermath of colonization.

Irish-Irelanders, deracinated Protestant avant-gardistes, counter-revival realists, American humanist literary critics, modernist poets and Marxist-republican critics: diverse sources over the twentieth century equated the Revival with cultural nostalgia and reactionary obfuscation, and ipso facto with the anti-modern and the anti-modernist. How then has it come about in the last twenty years or so that the Irish Revival is regarded as a signal aspect, even one of the incubators, of modernism?


Part of the answer lies in the rise of two approaches to literary studies in recent decades that have exploded simplistic conceptualizations of the Revival: cultural theory on the one hand and a renewed historicism on the other. Throughout the academic study of literature and the arts, critical priorities have shifted from the discrete, hermetic artwork onto the social condition and intellectual contexts from which texts emerge. In Irish studies, this has rendered visible the intertwined subterranean roots of seemingly opposed movements. So, for instance, the Revival’s indebtedness to such discourses as primitivism, spiritualism, evolutionism, and feminism reveals it as part of a broader European, modernist interchange of ideas. Conversely, but consistently, the image of historically uncontaminated modernist writers, who have transcended local or national concerns, has also been radically challenged. In the Irish case, the rise of a theoretically supple historical approach has demonstrated, first of Joyce and then of Beckett, their inseparability from Irish cultural, social, and postcolonial contexts.16 In short, over the last twenty years, critical attention has shifted from the apparent collision between the Irish Revival and international modernism to their previously obscured collusions.

This wider shift in cultural scholarship has meant that Revival studies and modernist studies look not just at the “highest” artistic achievements in formalist terms but also at institutions, material culture, pamphlets, and popular receptions. This has resulted in taxonomic shifts and definitional recalibration. The “Revival” has come to refer to the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society and the Gaelic Athletic Association as well as to the early poems of Lady Gregory or the translations of Hyde. This scholarly attention has overhauled understanding of what should be included in the Revival, when it begins and ends, and what constitutes its underpinning ideologies. Declan Kiberd’s seminal Inventing Ireland (1995) emphasizes the Revival’s imaginative orchestrations, locating it within the struggle for Irish independence that partook of the wider international emergence of postcolonial modernity. Subsequently, scholars have sought to recover demotic cultures and neglected figures, allowing us to rediscover, for instance, forgotten women writers and artists, or to learn how the northern Revival differed from its Dublin counterpart.17

One key effect of the changed emphasis is to expose common intellectual heritages. For instance, we recognize that the interest in folk cultures, the esoteric and the primitive that marked the Anglo-Irish literary movement was also a strong influence on iconic modernist works such as Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) and the paintings of Paul Gauguin. A work like Sinéad Garrigan Mattar’s Primitivism, Science and the Irish Revival (2004) demonstrates revivalist indebtedness to these discourses, despite the efforts of Yeats and others to disparage materialism and empiricism. Gregory Castle’s Modernism and the Celtic Revival (2001) also looks at scientific influences in the Revival, in this case anthropology and ethnography. Castle’s analysis is animated by the postcolonial paradigms that gained traction in Irish studies in the 1990s, and he argues that anthropology afforded the revivalists with scientifically grounded means to confront and combat ideologies of British imperialism.18

The rise of postcolonial theory as a frame within which to understand Irish society, together with corresponding scholarly work that associates modernism with the emergence of the nation state, has, as noted earlier, drawn Ireland’s fin-de-siècle cultures into modernist debates. Reading revivalist works as expressive of a postcolonial condition brings them closer to the sites of colonial modernity, redressing, again, the notion that modernism was, solely, a metropolitan, European enterprise.19 In this way, pace Corkery, the cultural Revival can be regarded not as the expression of a dying Ascendancy colonialism but as an early postcolonial struggle toward self-articulation in a hybridized, colonial language, a perspective that was implicit early on in Boyd’s Ireland’s Literary Renaissance, written closer to the period under consideration and hence alert both to its complexity and its novelty.

The Irish Revival depended on a sense of cultural possibility emerging from modernization, reconfiguration of class structure and a heightened urban-rural divide. These conditions accord with an influential Marxist explanation for the development of modernism: combined but uneven social development in which contradictory social conditions are generated by the asymmetrically accelerated entry into modernity of different sections of society. In such circumstances, art gravitates toward ruptured representation, seeking out the avant garde and experimental, the better to express contradictory social conditions. Eagleton summarizes the applicability of this model in the Irish case:

In an illuminating essay, Perry Anderson has sketched what he sees as the three preconditions conditions for a flourishing modernism: the existence of an artistic ancien régime, often in societies still under the sway of an aristocracy; the impact upon this traditional culture of breathtakingly new technologies; and the imaginative closeness of social revolution. Modernism springs from the estranging impact of modernizing forces on a still deeply traditionalist order, in a politically unstable context which opens up social hope as well as spiritual anxiety. Traditional culture provides modernism with an adversary, but also lends it some of the terms in which to inflect itself.20

Ireland in the Revival period, Eagleton contends, met the conditions described here by Anderson, and it was the intensity of the clash between the modern and the non-modern elements in Irish society that stimulated both revivalist and modernist projects alike. This argument chimes with that of a number of other critics of the 1990s who saw the irregular and fragmented social conditions of post-Famine Ireland as inhospitable to realist forms.21 In brief, the broad application of cultural theory, social analysis, and historical analysis exposed the intertwined roots of the Irish Revival and international modernism.

These connections have also been reinforced in both fields – revivalist and modernist studies – by the ethos of expansion, border-crossing, and interdisciplinarity that pertains in the humanities as a whole.22 Literary studies, suffused as it has been by values of inclusivity rather than selection, has grown more capacious, turning its attention not just to obscured voices and forgotten figures but also to previously neglected forms – letters, diaries, notebooks – and to the material, institutional, and intellectual histories that shape literary production. High modernism was traditionally conceived as an elite grouping of mandarin bohemians; the “Irish Revival” as a select cabal of Anglo-Irish artists. Both these conceptions have been roundly exploded by scholarly research and cultural theory eager to historicize and broaden its purview.

But as the Irish Revival and international modernist studies have both been extended in new directions, how has this affected questions of artistic value and evaluation? The “Irish Literary Revival” often loses the middle term in historically orientated scholarship.23 The generation of critics who elaborated the old definitions of “modernism” (leading figures include Eliot, Edmund Wilson, Clement Greenberg, and Theodor Adorno) were typically preoccupied with the “exclusive,” with the finest art of the age if not of all ages and, above all, with the capacity of art to resist the coarsening of culture by consumerism. This vertical axis, with its insistence on formal and stylistic accomplishment, was a key aspect of high modernism, a synchronic bulwark against diachronic leveling.

Contemporary humanities research is, however, uncomfortable with such elitist discriminations, prioritizing instead inclusivity, representativeness, and social and historical relevance. “Expansion” in literary studies has flattened earlier “vertical” distinctions. Clearly this has particular implications for modernism and the Irish Revival, which so often styled themselves, or were styled by others, as hieratic, elite literary movements, at the high cultural side of a “great divide.”24 Both Pound the modernist and Yeats the revivalist deplore the vulgarities of popular taste and the mass market. Both seek the thickened textures and allusiveness of modernist verse a redoubt against the vulgar middle class. In other words, the new modernist and new revivalist studies, with their breaking down of high-low cultural distinctions, brush against the normative grain of many of the traditionally canonical modernist writers.

Historicism has allowed us to see how the literary works of the Revival and modernism have common tributaries. Yet the slackening of interest in literary value, or at least the turn in the academy from explicitly addressing artistic success or failure, may have militated against the specificity or singular stature of the great works of the Revival and modernism. Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett certainly have huge academic and cultural status, but much of it is self-sustaining, deriving from inherited cultural capital rather than renewed canonical interrogation. Most of the attention given to these three writers in recent years has deployed historicist methods, rather than formal or evaluative criticism. However, there are signs in some quarters of a development beyond historicism or an attempt to render history more intimate with artistic form and literary singularity.25 This development opens fresh possibilities for understanding the modernism-Revival nexus. For all the expansive ethos of the “new modernist studies,” the concept of modernism is shot through with connotations of literary weight, international currency, and formal achievement. Notable recent studies have made this connotation explicit, affirming at the same time that modernist achievement lies in confronting the recalcitrance of representation. For commentators such as Gabriel Josipovici and T. J. Clarke, modernist art asserts the ineffability and alterity of the world, the vagaries of alienated capitalism or desacralized modernity, and the limited possibilities of expression.26 It is this pained acknowledgment that throws modernist literature into audacious experimentation, an effort to grasp a reality that proves ever elusive.

This version of modernism echoes Beckett’s claim that there has been a “rupture in the lines of communication,” which only the serious and aware artists recognize (an awareness from which he excludes the “antiquarians” of the Revival).27 However if, as Max Weber held, modern rationality has brought about “the disenchantment of the world,” then many major works of the Irish Revival can, pace Beckett, be understood as part of a wider modernist reaction to this disenchantment.28 The Irish Revival’s overlap with modernism surely lies in part in the pessimism, the tragic note, running through many of the major revivalist writers.29 In many cases, this aspect has a gothic overture, the doomed big house narrative of the declining Ascendancy. But it also feeds some of the most accomplished revivalist art. Beckett praises the painter Jack B. Yeats, brother of the poet, because he “brings light, as only the great dare to bring light, to the issueless predicament of existence.”30 Disagreeing with his friend Thomas MacGreevy’s assessment, Beckett insists that Yeats’s art has nothing to do with his Irishness. But Beckett also finds modernist opacity elsewhere in the revival’s most celebrated works, such as the “dramatic dehiscence” he discerns in O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock (1924).31

Seamus Heaney has written of the “unconsoled modernity of Yeats’s achievement.”32 Yeats declares at the start of his career that, against the “grey truth” of a world dominated by materialist science, “words alone are certain good.”33 But his poetry, at its best, continually questions the assertions of artistic power, notwithstanding the oratorical hauteur of his persona. His investment in the imagination and the power of poetic utterance is inseparable from a contrary guilty recognition of ineffability and contingency. He registers the modern schism between fact and value, between the way things are and the way human ethical or poetic sensibility would wish them to be. “We pieced our thoughts into philosophy,” he writes in “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” (1921), “And tried to bring the world under a rule / Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.”34

For all its idealism and mission, for all the sense that it heralded a beginning, revivalist art is at its most “modern” when alert to the contradictions and conflict that spiraled into barbarity and bloodshed, in both Europe and Ireland. In that sense, the revival is most modernist when it is most attuned to its own precariousness, its own failures. The modernist incubus in the Irish revival, then, is that which is aware of the mismatch between word and thing, between imagination and reality or, as Synge suggests in that most totemic revivalist text, The Playboy of the Western World, between the gallous stories of art and the dirty deeds of history.


1 Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959); Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era (London: Faber and Faber, 1971); Ezra Pound, Literary Essays, T. S. Eliot, ed. (London: Faber and Faber, 1954); James Joyce, Occasional, Critical and Political Writing, Kevin Barry, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Samuel Beckett, Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, Ruby Cohn, ed. (London: John Calder, 1983).

2 Terry Eagleton, Heathcliff and the Great Hunger (London: Verso, 1995), 297.

3 Roy Foster contends that the intense cultural activity before the death of Parnell confounds the Yeatsian narrative. Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

4 W. B. Yeats, “Ireland After Parnell,” Book II of The Trembling of the Veil (1922), Autobiographies (London: Macmillan, 1955), 199.

5 J. M. Synge, Collected Works vol. II: Prose, Alan Price, ed. (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1982), 382. The fullest treatment of the connections in P. J. Mathews, Revival: The Abbey Theatre, Sinn Féin, the Gaelic League and the Cooperative Movement (Cork: Cork University Press/Field Day, 2003).

6 Philip O’Leary, The Prose Literature of the Gaelic Revival, 1881–1921: Ideology and Innovation (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994).

7 Beckett, Disjecta, 70.

8 Ezra Pound, “Dubliners and Mr. James Joyce,” The Egoist I, 14 (July 15, 1914), 267.

9 James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996), 71.

10 The debate between Eglinton, Æ, and Yeats on the Revival is recorded in John Eglinton et al., Literary Ideals in Ireland (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1899).

11 See Emer Nolan, James Joyce and Nationalism (London: Routledge, 1995).

12 James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (London: Penguin, 1992), 276.

13 J. M. Synge, Collected Letters, 2 vols., Ann Saddlemyer, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983–4), I: 74.

14 On Synge as a postcolonial writer producing modernist stagecraft, see Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland (London: Jonathan Cape, 1995), 166–88.

15 Daniel Corkery, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature [1931] (New York: Russell and Russell, 1965), 14.

16 Indicative scholarly works include Nolan, James Joyce and Nationalism; Andrew Gibson, Joyce’s Revenge: History, Politics, and Aesthetics in Ulysses (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Seán Kennedy, ed. Beckett and Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); and Emilie Morin, Samuel Beckett and the Problem of Irishness (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

17 Karen Steele, Women, Press and Politics During the Irish Revival (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007); Eugene McNulty, The Ulster Literary Theatre and the Northern Revival (Cork: Cork University Press, 2008).

18 Sinéad Garrigan Mattar, Primitivism, Science and the Irish Revival (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Gregory Castle, Modernism and the Celtic Revival (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

19 Laura Doyle and Laura Winkiel, eds. Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005).

20 Eagleton, Heathcliff, 297. Perry Anderson, “Modernity and Revolution,” New Left Review 144 (March-April 1984).

21 For example, David Lloyd, Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993); Seamus Deane, Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing since 1790 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997).

22 For example, an ethos of “expansion” is explicitly welcomed by Margaret Kelleher in “Introduction: New Perspectives on the Literary Revival” Irish University Review 33, 1 (Spring/Summer 2003), vii–xii; and by Douglas Mao and Rebecca L. Walkowitz, “The New Modernist Studies” PMLA, 123, 3 (May 2008), 737.

23 Edna Longley, “Not Guilty,” The Dublin Review 16 (Autumn 2004), 17–31.

24 Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).

25 Pascale Casanova, Samuel Beckett: Anatomy of a Literary Revolution, Gregory Elliott, trans. (London: Verso, 2007); Derek Attridge, The Singularity of Literature (London: Routledge, 2004).

26 For instance, T. J. Clarke, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999); Gabriel Josipovici What Ever Happened to Modernism? (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011).

27 Beckett, Disjecta, 70–1.

28 Max Weber, “Science as Vocation,” From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1946), 155.

29 Rónán McDonald, Tragedy and Irish Literature: Synge, O’Casey, Beckett (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).

30 Beckett, Disjecta, 97.

31 Beckett, Disjecta, 82.

32 Seamus Heaney, “ W. B. Yeats,” Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Volume II, Seamus Deane, ed. (Derry: Field Day, 1991), 789.

33 W. B. Yeats, The Variorum Edition of the Poems, Peter Allt and Russell K. Alspach, eds. (New York: Macmillan, 1957), 45–57.

34 Yeats, Variorum Poems, 429.