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Thomas Macdonagh Biography

(1878–1916), When the Dawn Is Come, Metempsychosis, Through the Ivory Gate, Songs of Myself, Lyrical Poems

Irish poet and playwright, born in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, educated at University College, Dublin. In 1908 he became a teacher at Patrick Pearse's St Enda's School. His first play, When the Dawn Is Come, was produced by the Abbey Theatre in 1908, after revisions suggested by Yeats and Synge had made its nationalist content more explicit. Yeats was later satirized in another of MacDonagh's plays, Metempsychosis, produced in 1912. In 1913, by which time he was a lecturer in English at University College, Dublin, he joined the Irish Volunteers, devoting himself whole-heartedly to the movement; he was executed in May1916 as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. His collections of poetry include Through the Ivory Gate (1902), Songs of Myself (1910), and Lyrical Poems (1913). His later verse displays a confident directness of tone and imagery of accomplished clarity. Numerous translations of Gaelic poems and works by Catullus were included in The Poetical Works of Thomas MacDonagh (1916). Among his other writings is Literature in Ireland (1916), a work important for its identification of Anglo-Irish literature as a distinct cultural category.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Earl Lovelace Biography to Madmen and Specialists