Robert Wilson Lynd

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Robert Wilson Lynd
Robert Lynd Low.jpg
Caricature of Robert Lynd, 1928
Native name Roibéard Ó Floinn
Born 20 April 1879
Belfast, Ireland
Died 6 October 1949(1949-10-06) (aged 70)
Resting place Belfast City Cemetery
Language English and Irish
Nationality British
Ethnicity Irish
Genres Essays, poems
Literary movement Irish literary revival
Years active 1906-1949
Spouse Sylvia Dryhurst
Children Máire and Sigle
Relatives Tim Wheeler (grandson)
Robert Lynd Erskine Lowry (grandnephew)

Robert Wilson Lynd (Irish: Roibéard Ó Floinn; 20 April 1879 – 6 October 1949) was an Irish writer, editor of poetry, urbane literary essayist and strong Irish nationalist.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Belfast to Robert John Lynd, a Presbyterian minister, and Sarah Rentoul Lynd, the second of seven children. Lynd's paternal great-grandfather emigrated from Scotland to Ireland.[1] Lynd was educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, studying at Queen's University. His background was Protestant. His father was a Presbyterian Church Moderator. Male ancestors in his mother's family were also ministers.[1]

He married the writer Sylvia Dryhurst on 21 April 1909. They met at Gaelic League meetings in London. Their daughters Máire and Sigle became close friends of Isaiah Berlin. Sigle's son, born in 1941, is the artist Tim Wheeler [1].[citation needed] He settled in Hampstead, in Keats Grove near the John Keats house.

Lynd died in 1949[where?] and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Literary career[edit]

He began as a journalist on The Northern Whig in Belfast. He moved to London in 1901, via Manchester, sharing accommodation with his friend the artist Paul Henry. Firstly he wrote drama criticism, for Today, edited by Jerome K. Jerome. He also wrote for the Daily News (later the News Chronicle), being its literary editor 1912-47.[2]

The Lynds were literary hosts, in the group including J. B. Priestley. They were on good terms also with Hugh Walpole. Priestley, Walpole and Sylvia Lynd were founding committee members of the Book Society.[3] Irish guests included James Joyce and James Stephens. On one occasion reported by Victor Gollancz, Joyce intoned Anna Livia Plurabelle to his own piano accompaniment.[citation needed]

He used the pseudonym Y.Y. (Ys, or wise) in writing for the New Statesman. According to C. H. Rolph's Kingsley (1973), Lynd's weekly essay, which ran from 1913-45, was 'irreplaceable'. In 1941, editor Kingsley Martin decided to alternate it with pieces by James Bridie on Ireland, but the experiment was not at all a success.[citation needed]


He became a fluent Irish speaker, and Gaelic League member. As a Sinn Féin activist, he used the name Robiard Ó Flionn/Roibeard Ua Flionn.[4]

He wrote for The Republic in its early days. He spoke at the funeral in 1916 of Irish Republican and Marxist James Connolly, whose works Labour in Ireland, Labour in Irish History and The Re-Conquest of Ireland he subsequently edited. He was also a friend of Roger Casement.[citation needed]


Robert Lynd's Anthology of Modern Poetry (1939)[edit]

Lynd was a long-serving literary editor at the News Chronicle. He was a minor poet,[citation needed] and married to Sylvia Lynd who was widely published. His literary sympathies as shown in this selection were most largely with figures from the Irish literary revival, and the Georgian poets. The book was published by Methuen, who had produced a sequence of anthologies in the 1920s and 1930s. Lynd wrote the introduction for the very popular[citation needed] 1924 edition by Algernon Methuen, called An Anthology of Modern Verse. Subsequently the firm had produced an anthology edited jointly by Cecil Day-Lewis and L. A. G. Strong. Poets included in Lynd's book were:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wesley McCann (2006). "Robert Lynd Biography (free sample)". Dictionary of Literary Biography. Book Rags. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Profile,; accessed 21 February 2017.
  3. ^ Robert and Sylvia were considered 'powerful' figures of London literary life: Sarah LeFanu, Rose Macaulay (2003), p.153.
  4. ^ "Robert Wilson (1879-1949): Journalist and writer". Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 

External links[edit]