Irish Literary Society

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The Irish Literary Society was founded in London in 1892 by William Butler Yeats, T. W. Rolleston and Charles Gavan Duffy. Members of the Southwark Irish Literary Club met in Clapham Reform Club and changed the name early in the year. February 13 they met again to form a committee. Evelyn Gleeson became secretary. Stopford Brooke gave the inaugural lecture to the society, on "The Need and Use of Getting Irish Literature into the English Tongue" (Bloomsbury House, 11 March 1893).[1] The Society developed a proposal for a New Irish Library, a series of books to honor Irish culture, with Rolleston and Douglas Hyde as editors. Limerick man Michael MacDonagh, author and Parliamentary correspondent for the Times, was an active member and editor of the Society's quarterly Gazette.

Arthur Conan Doyle, of Irish descent, and with a keen interest in Ireland, chaired the Irish Society's dinner, 13 February 1897. He spoke on 'The Irish Brigade'.[2] On 19 February he enclosed his speech with a letter to his mother.[3] In Moriarty Unmasked: Conan Doyle and an Anglo-Irish Quarrel, Jane Stanford gives an account of the meeting and its political context and significance.[4]

A Book of Irish Verse, designed to publicise the new societies, was published in 1895, edited by Yeats and dedicated "To the Members of the National Literary Society of Dublin and the Irish Literary Society of London." It featured poetry by Rolleston, Hyde, Katharine Tynan, Lionel Johnson, AE and several others, with notes and an introduction by himself.[5]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ W. P. Ryan: The Irish Literary Revival (1894)
  2. ^ 'The Irish Brigade' by Dr. A. Conan Doyle, Irish Literary Society General Report 1897-1898, National Library of Ireland, Ephemera Department.
  3. ^ Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters, eds. Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower & Charles Foley, 2007.
  4. ^ Moriarty Unmasked: Conan Doyle and an Anglo-Irish Quarrel', Jane Stanford, Carrowmore, 2017, pps. 37-39.
  5. ^ Boyd, E. A. Ireland's Literary Renaissance. 1968.
  6. ^ "The Bookman". The Bookman. Great Britain: Hodder & Stoughton. 17: 145. 1900. Retrieved September 11, 2014.