Samhain (magazine)

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Three issues of Samhain

Samhain was a theatrical periodical published irregularly, with an annual in December, in the first decade of the 20th century. The Irish poet W. B. Yeats was a regular and leading contributor of essays outlining his artistic principles. Publication began in October 1901, superseding Beltaine, an occasional theatre review and publication of the Irish Literary Theatre named for the ancient Irish festival Bealtaine. The National Irish Theatre Society published Samhain.[1] It has been noted that the two periodicals "constitute at once a history and a running critical commentary … of the origin and growth of the dramatic activity in Ireland."[1]

In the first issue of Samhain, Yeats explained the name change as referring to "the old name for the beginning of winter, because our plays this year are in October, and because our Theatre is coming to an end in its present shape." Samhain also published the texts of new plays for a time, but later these were printed in book form as The Abbey Theatre Series. The magazine was published in Dublin by Sealy, Bryers & Walker, and in London by T. Fisher Unwin.


  1. ^ a b Horatio Sheafe Krans. William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival, W. Heinemann, 1905. Pg. 185.
  • The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats. Edited by John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard. Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 15, 978, et passim.