The Irish Dramatic Movement

By Una Ellis-Fermor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
MARTYN AND MOORE

'Form is my beauty and my love.'

EDWARD MARTYN is a hard man to understand, perhaps impossible to an Englishman. He inherited on the one side the tradition of the West of Ireland gentry and peasant and on the other 'the grand aesthetic distinction of Catholicism' and the citizenship of Europe. As man or as artist he leaves an impression strong beyond all proportion to any one achievement, and those who have written of him have made penetrating interpretations-- which differ fundamentally. His attachments and his capacities were strong and incompatible; the result less an organism than a state in conflict, bound together by a mastering win. Nature- mystic and satirist, devout pietist and ambitious dramatist, affectionate in friendship and a hater of women, ascetic in habit of life and cosmopolitan in culture, a Greek scholar, a lover of Palestrina and an acrimonious politician--no sooner do we settle upon one quality than its opposite comes to confound it. Various in interests and parochial in mood, a subtle and acute critic of Ibsen and as naïve as a child in his own estimates of men, it is easy to draw a series of portraits, but hard, to the verge of impossibility, to see the man.1

Moore has left picture after picture, unforgettably vivid, revealing through the medium of habits, clothes and mannerisms, the obfuscation of intellect and the immovable massivity of soul. 'One comes very often to the end of a mind that thinks clearly, but one never comes to the end of Edward.'2 His other great contemporary, Yeats, briefer and more analytical, looks rather for the underlying structure of the mind. It was,

____________________
1
Mr. Denis Gwynn's full length study Edward Martyn and the Irish Revival ( 1930), to which all students of this subject are indebted, achieves a synthesis which cannot be attempted here.
2
George Moore: Ave.134.

-117-

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The Irish Dramatic Movement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Preface to the First Edition ix
  • Preface xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter 1 - The Origin and Significance of the Irish Dramatic Movement 1
  • Chapter 2 - The English Theatre in the Nineties 18
  • Chapter 3 - The Early History of the Movement 33
  • Chapter 4 - Ideals in the Workshop 59
  • Chapter 5 - W. B. Yeats 91
  • Chapter 6 - Martyn and Moore 117
  • Chapter 7 - Lady Gregory 136
  • Chapter 8 - John Millington Synge 163
  • Chapter 9 - Conclusion and Prospect 187
  • Appendices 208
  • Index 237
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