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Douglas Hyde Biography

(1860–1949), Leabhar Sgeulaigheachta, Beside the Fire, Love Songs of Connacht, The Story of Early Gaelic Literature

authority on Gaelic and leader of the Irish Revival, born near Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, where he learned Gaelic as a youth; he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. His early publications include the Gaelic miscellany Leabhar Sgeulaigheachta (lit. ‘the book of story-telling’) (1889) and Beside the Fire (1890), his translations of traditional stories. He was the principal founder in 1893 of the Gaelic League, of which he remained president until 1915. Love Songs of Connacht (1893), which contained verse translations of Gaelic poems alongside the original texts, was widely influential, offering many writers imaginative access to Irish poetic idioms. In The Story of Early Gaelic Literature (1895) and A Literary History of Ireland (1899) he established the historical authenticity of Irish literary culture. In 1909 he became the first professor of Modern Irish at the National University. The best-known of his numerous plays in Gaelic, which were translated into English by Lady Gregory, is Casadh an tSugain (‘The Twisting of the Rope’) (1901). Several of his works were staged at the Abbey Theatre, of which he was vice-president. In 1938 he was elected the first president of the Republic of Ireland.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Honest Ulsterman to Douglas Hyde Biography