Ireland

The Playboy of the Western World, by J. M. Synge (1907)

A dramatist once wrote a play about an Irish peasant, We heard some of the audience say “The motive is not pleasant.” Our own opinion, we admit, Is rather—well—uncertain, Because we couldn’t hear one bit From rise to fall of curtain. The Abbey Row (Dublin: Maunsel & Co., 1907) John Millington Synge’s drama The Playboy... more

W.B. Yeats and His Books

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats, one of the most important and influential literary figures of the 20th century. In celebration of the Yeats sesquicentennial, Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s Special Collections department has opened an exhibit of materials from its extensive Yeats collection. William Butler Yeats was born in... more

Death of a Naturalist, by Seamus Heaney (1966)

When poet Seamus Heaney died last month at age 74, obituaries hailed him as the greatest Irish poet since William Butler Yeats. The New York Times noted that Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, was renowned for work that powerfully evoked the beauty and blood that together have come to define... more

Life in the West of Ireland, by Jack Butler Yeats (1912)

Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957) is considered by many to be the most important Irish artist of the 20th century. Like his brother, the poet William Butler Yeats , Jack Yeats was a key figure in the Celtic Revival movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jack Yeats is best known for his long... more