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Padraic Colum Biography

(1881–1972), The Land, The Fiddler's House, Thomas Muskerry, Our Friend James Joyce, Wild Earth

Irish dramatist and poet, born in Longford, Ireland; he was educated at Glasthule National School, Dublin, and began his working life as a clerk. He achieved prominence through the success of his plays The Land (1905) and The Fiddler's House (1907) at the Abbey Theatre. Thomas Muskerry (1910) proved controversial for its sombrely realistic treatment of conditions in rural Ireland. In 1914 he emigrated to New York, lecturing at Columbia University in comparative literature and publishing many adaptations of Irish, Welsh, and Scandinavian legends for children. During the early 1930s he lived in Paris, becoming well acquainted with James Joyce; with his wife, Mary Colum, he wrote the memoir Our Friend James Joyce (1958). Wild Earth (1907), his first collection of poetry, was followed by many volumes including Creatures (1927), Flower Pieces (1938), and Images of Departure (1968). Poems, a collected edition, appeared in 1953. His poetry is memorable for the refined lyricism and simplicity with which it celebrates and records aspects of rural Ireland. A prolific author, he also wrote novels, notably The Flying Swans (1957), and a biography of Arthur Griffith entitled Ourselves Alone (1959). A critical biography by Z. R. Bowen was published in 1970.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cockfield Suffolk to Frances Cornford (née Darwin) Biography