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Robert Lynd Essays Online

Old And New Masters - Chapter 27. Mr. Thomas Hardy

CHAPTER XXVII. MR. THOMAS HARDY1. HIS GENIUS AS A POETMr. Thomas Hardy, in the opinion of some, is greater as a poet than as a novelist. That is one of the mild heresies in which the amateur of letters loves to indulge. It has about as much truth in it as the statement that Milton was greater as a controversialist than as a poet, or that Lamb's plays are better than his essays. Mr. Hardy has undoubtedly made an original contribution to the poetry of his time. But he has given us no verse that more than hints at the height... Essays - Post by : pcmatt - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 1960

Old And New Masters - Chapter 26. Mr. Rudyard Kipling

CHAPTER XXVI. MR. RUDYARD KIPLING1. THE GOOD STORY-TELLERMr. Kipling is an author whom one has loved and hated a good deal. One has loved him as the eternal schoolboy revelling in smells and bad language and dangerous living. One has loved him less, but one has at least listened to him, as the knowing youth who could tell one all about the ladies of Simla. One has found him rather adorable as the favourite uncle with the funny animal stories. One has been amazed by his magnificent make-believe as he has told one about dim forgotten peoples that have disappeared under... Essays - Post by : aeyates - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 1949

Old And New Masters - Chapter 25. R. Joseph Conrad

CHAPTER XXV. R. JOSEPH CONRAD1. THE MAKING OF AN AUTHORMr. Joseph Conrad is one of the strangest figures in literature. He has called himself "the most unliterary of writers." He did not even begin to write till he was half-way between thirty and forty. I do not like to be more precise about the date, because there seems to be some doubt as to the year in which Mr. Conrad was born. Mr. Hugh Walpole, in his brief critical study of Mr. Conrad, gives the date as the 6th of December, 1857; the _Encyclopaedia Britannica says 1856; Mr. Conrad himself declares... Essays - Post by : infinityrose - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2712

Old And New Masters - Chapter 24. Mr. J.C. Squire

CHAPTER XXIV. MR. J.C. SQUIREIt would not have been easy a few years ago to foresee the achievement of Mr. Squire as a poet. He laboured under the disadvantage of being also a wit. It used to be said of Ibsen that a Pegasus had once been shot under him, and one was alarmed lest the reverse of this was about to happen to Mr. Squire, and lest a writer who began in the gaiety of the comic spirit should end soberly astride Pegasus. When, in _Tricks of the Trade_, he announced that he was going to write no more parodies,... Essays - Post by : tkrimo - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2548

Old And New Masters - Chapter 23. The Work Of T.M. Kettle

CHAPTER XXIII. THE WORK OF T.M. KETTLETo have written books and to have died in battle has been a common enough fate in the last few years. But not many of the young men who have fallen in the war have left us with such a sense of perished genius as Lieutenant T.M. Kettle, who was killed at Ginchy. He was one of those men who have almost too many gifts to succeed. He had the gift of letters and the gift of politics; he was a mathematician, an economist, a barrister, and a philosopher; he was a Bohemian as well... Essays - Post by : Huwtest - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 1911

Old And New Masters - Chapter 22. Swinburne

CHAPTER XXII. SWINBURNE1. THE EXOTIC BIRDSwinburne was an absurd character. He was a bird of showy strut and plumage. One could not but admire his glorious feathers; but, as soon as he began to moult--and he had already moulted excessively by the time Watts-Dunton took him under his roof--one saw how very little body there was underneath. Mr. Gosse in his biography compared Swinburne to a coloured and exotic bird--a "scarlet and azure macaw," to, be precise--and the comparison remains in one's imagination. Watts-Dunton, finding the poor creature moulted and "off its feed," carried it down to Putney, resolved to domesticate... Essays - Post by : Jack_Bastide - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 3067

Old And New Masters - Chapter 21. Mr. Cunninghame Graham

CHAPTER XXI. MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAMMr. Cunninghame Graham is a grandee of contemporary literature. He is also a grandee of revolutionary politics. Both in literature and in politics he is a figure of challenge for the love of challenge more than any other man now writing. Other men challenge us with Utopias, with moral laws and so forth. But Mr. Graham has little of the prophet or the moralist about him. He expresses himself better in terms of his hostilities than in terms of visionary cities and moralities such as Plato and Shelley and Mazzini have built for us out of light... Essays - Post by : peter2002 - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 3181

Old And New Masters - Chapter 20. Lady Gregory

CHAPTER XX. LADY GREGORYIt was Mr. Bernard Shaw who, in commenting on the rowdy reception of the Irish players in some American theatres, spoke of Lady Gregory as "the greatest living Irishwoman." She is certainly a remarkable enough writer to put a generous critic a little off his balance. Equal mistress in comedy and tragedy, essayist, gatherer of the humours of folk-lore, imaginative translator of heroic literature, venturesome translator of Moliere, she has contributed a greater variety of grotesque and beautiful things to Anglo-Irish literature than any of her contemporaries.She owes her chief fame, perhaps, to the way in which, along... Essays - Post by : johnb - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2799

Old And New Masters - Chapter 19. Tchehov: The Perfect Story-Teller

CHAPTER XIX. TCHEHOV: THE PERFECT STORY-TELLERIt is the custom when praising a Russian writer to do so at the expense of all other Russian writers. It is as though most of us were monotheists in our devotion to authors, and could not endure to see any respect paid to the rivals of the god of the moment. And so one year Tolstoy is laid prone as Dagon, and, another year, Turgenev. And, no doubt, the day will come when Dostoevsky will fall from his huge eminence.Perhaps the luckiest of all the Russian authors in this respect is Tchehov. He is so... Essays - Post by : a5508902 - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 3597

Old And New Masters - Chapter 18. Mr. W.B. Yeats

CHAPTER XVIII. MR. W.B. YEATS1. HIS OWN ACCOUNT OF HIMSELFMr. W.B. Yeats has created, if not a new world, a new star. He is not a reporter of life as it is, to the extent that Shakespeare or Browning is. One is not quite certain that his kingdom is of the green earth. He is like a man who has seen the earth not directly but in a crystal. He has a vision of real things, but in unreal circumstances. His poetry repels many people at first because it is unlike any other poetry. They are suspicious of it as of... Essays - Post by : kdmpublishing - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 1478

Old And New Masters - Chapter 17. Mr. Masefield's Secret

CHAPTER XVII. MR. MASEFIELD'S SECRETMr. Masefield, as a poet, has the secret of popularity. Has he also the secret of poetry? I confess his poems often seem to me to invite the admirably just verdict which Jeffrey delivered on Wordsworth's _Excursion_: "This will never do." We miss in his lines the onward march of poetry. His individual phrases carry no cargoes of wonder. His art is not of the triumphant order that lifts us off our feet. As we read the first half of his narrative sea-poem, _Dauber_, we are again and again moved to impatience by the sheer literary left-handedness... Essays - Post by : coease - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 3443

Old And New Masters - Chapter 16. Mr. Bernard Shaw

CHAPTER XVI. MR. BERNARD SHAWMr. Shaw came for a short time recently to be regarded less as an author than as an incident in the European War. In the opinion of many people, it seemed as if the Allies were fighting against a combination composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Mr. Shaw. Mr. Shaw's gift of infuriating people is unfailing. He is one of those rare public men who can hardly express an opinion on potato-culture--and he does express an opinion on everything--without making a multitude of people shake their fists in impotent anger. His life--at least, his public life--has been... Essays - Post by : nar321 - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2851

Old And New Masters - Chapter 15. Rossetti And Ritual

CHAPTER XV. ROSSETTI AND RITUALRossetti's great gift to his time was the gift of beauty, of beauty to be worshipped in the sacred hush of a temple. His work is not richer in the essentials of beauty than Browning's--it is not, indeed, nearly so rich; but, while Browning served beauty joyously, a god in a firmament of gods, Rossetti burned a lonely candle to it as to the only true god. To Browning, the temple of beauty was but a house in a living world; to Rossetti, the world outside the temple was, for the most part, a dead world. _Jenny... Essays - Post by : emailpro - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 3561

Old And New Masters - Chapter 14. "The Prince Of French Poets"

CHAPTER XIV. "THE PRINCE OF FRENCH POETS"It is difficult nowadays to conceive that, within half a century of his death, Ronsard's fame suffered so dark an eclipse that no new edition of his works was called for between 1629 and 1857. When he died, he was, as M. Jusserand reminds us, the most illustrious man of letters in Europe. He seemed, too, to have all those gifts of charm--charm of mood and music--which make immortality certain. And yet, in the rule-of-thumb ages that were to follow, he sank into such disesteem in his own country that Boileau had not a good... Essays - Post by : malistor - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 1227

Old And New Masters - Chapter 13. The Madness Of Strindberg

CHAPTER XIII. THE MADNESS OF STRINDBERGThe mirror that Strindberg held up to Nature was a cracked one. It was cracked in a double sense--it was crazy. It gave back broken images of a world which it made look like the chaos of a lunatic dream. Miss Lind-af-Hageby, in her popular biography of Strindberg, is too intent upon saying what can be said in his defence to make a serious attempt to analyse the secret of genius which is implicit in those "115 plays, novels, collections of stories, essays, and poems" which will be gathered into the complete edition of his works... Essays - Post by : akmarket - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 729

Old And New Masters - Chapter 12. Turgenev

CHAPTER XII. TURGENEVMr. Edward Garnett has recently collected his prefaces to the novels and stories of Turgenev, and refashioned them into a book in praise of the genius of the most charming of Russian authors. I am afraid the word "charming" has lost so much of its stamp and brightness with use as to have become almost meaningless. But we apply it to Turgenev in its fullest sense. We call him charming as Pater called Athens charming. He is one of those authors whose books we love because they reveal a personality sensitive, affectionate, pitiful. There are some persons who, when... Essays - Post by : dustyg - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 1173

Old And New Masters - Chapter 11. James Elroy Flecker

CHAPTER XI. JAMES ELROY FLECKERJames Elroy Flecker died in January 1915, having added at least one poem to the perfect anthology of English verse. Probably his work contains a good deal that is permanent besides this. But one is confident at least of the permanence of _The Old Ships_. Readers coming a thousand years hence upon the beauty, the romance and the colour of this poem will turn eagerly, one imagines, in search of other work from the same pen. This was the flower of the poet's genius. It was the exultant and original speech of one who was in a... Essays - Post by : clickit - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 835

Old And New Masters - Chapter 10. Pope

CHAPTER X. POPEPope is a poet whose very admirers belittle him. Mr. Saintsbury, for instance, even in the moment of inciting us to read him, observes that "it would be scarcely rash to say that there is not an original thought, sentiment, image, or example of any of the other categories of poetic substance to be found in the half a hundred thousand verses of Pope." And he has still less to say in favour of Pope as a man. He denounces him for "rascality" and goes on with characteristic irresponsibility to suggest that "perhaps ... there is a natural connection... Essays - Post by : imported_n/a - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2773

Old And New Masters - Chapter 9. Villon: The Genius Of The Tavern

CHAPTER IX. VILLON: THE GENIUS OF THE TAVERNIt is to Stevenson's credit that he was rather sorry that he had ever written his essay on Villon. He explains that this was due to the fact that he "regarded Villon as a bad fellow," but one likes to think that his conscience was also a little troubled because through lack of sympathy he had failed to paint a just portrait of a man of genius. Villon was a bad fellow enough in all conscience. He was not so bad, however, as Stevenson made him out. He was, no doubt, a thief; he... Essays - Post by : cormad - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2719

Old And New Masters - Chapter 8. The Fame Of J.M. Synge

CHAPTER VIII. THE FAME OF J.M. SYNGEThe most masterly piece of literary advertising in modern times was surely Mr. Yeats's enforcement of Synge upon the coteries--or the choruses--as a writer in the great tradition of Homer and Shakespeare. So successful has Mr. Yeats been, indeed, in the exaltation of his friend, that people are in danger of forgetting that it is Mr. Yeats himself, and not Synge, who is the ruling figure in modern Irish literature. One does not criticize Mr. Yeats for this. During the Synge controversy he was a man raising his voice in the heat of battle--a man,... Essays - Post by : Eric_McCrea - Date : May 2012 - Author :Robert Lynd - Read : 2877
Robert Wilson Lynd

Caricature of Robert Lynd, 1928

Native nameRobiard Ó Flionn/Roibeard Ua Flionn
Born20 April 1879
Belfast, Ireland
Died6 October 1949(1949-10-06) (aged 70)
Resting placeBelfast City Cemetery
LanguageEnglish, Irish
GenresEssays, poems
Literary movementIrish literary revival
Years active1906-1949
SpouseSylvia Dryhurst
ChildrenMáire and Sigle
RelativesTim Wheeler (grandson)
Robert Lynd Erskine Lowry (grandnephew)

Robert Wilson Lynd (Irish: Roibéard Ó Floinn; 20 April 1879 – 6 October 1949) was an Anglo-Irish writer, editor of poetry, urbane literary essayist and strong Irish nationalist.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Belfast to Robert John Lynd, a Presbyterian minister, and Sarah Rentoul Lynd, the second of seven children. Lynd's paternal great-grandfather emigrated from Scotland to Ireland.[1]

Lynd was educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, studying at Queen's University. His background was Protestant. His father was a Presbyterian ChurchModerator. Male ancestors in his mother's family were also ministers.[1]

Literary career[edit]

He began as a journalist on The Northern Whig in Belfast. He moved to London in 1901, via Manchester, sharing accommodation with his friend the artist Paul Henry. Firstly he wrote drama criticism, for Today, edited by Jerome K. Jerome. He also wrote for the Daily News (later the News Chronicle), being its literary editor 1912-47.[2]

The Lynds were literary hosts, in the group including J. B. Priestley. They were on good terms also with Hugh Walpole. Priestley, Walpole and Sylvia Lynd were founding committee members of the Book Society.[3] Irish guests included James Joyce and James Stephens. On one occasion reported by Victor Gollancz in Reminiscences of Affection, p. 90, Joyce intoned Anna Livia Plurabelle to his own piano accompaniment.[citation needed]

He used the pseudonym Y.Y. (Ys, or wise) in writing for the New Statesman. According to C. H. Rolph's Kingsley (1973), Lynd's weekly essay, which ran from 1913–45, was 'irreplaceable'. In 1941, editor Kingsley Martin decided to alternate it with pieces by James Bridie on Ireland, but the experiment was not at all a success.[citation needed]

Political activism[edit]

He became a fluent Irish speaker, and Gaelic League member. As a Sinn Féin activist, he used the name Robiard Ó Flionn/Roibeard Ua Flionn.[4]

Personal life and death[edit]

He married the writer Sylvia Dryhurst on 21 April 1909. They met at Gaelic League meetings in London. Their daughters Máire and Sigle became close friends of Isaiah Berlin. Sigle's son, born in 1941, is artist Tim Wheeler.

He settled in Hampstead, in Keats Grove near John Keats's house. Lynd died in 1949[where?] and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.


"Cats", Ch. 5 of The Pleasure of Ignorance
Read by Perry Clayton for LibriVox

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Robert Lynd's Anthology of Modern Poetry (1939)[edit]

Lynd was a long-serving literary editor at the News Chronicle. He was a minor poet,[citation needed] and married to Sylvia Lynd who was widely published. His literary sympathies as shown in this selection were most largely with figures from the Irish literary revival, and the Georgian poets. The book was published by Methuen, who had produced a sequence of anthologies in the 1920s and 1930s. Lynd wrote the introduction for the very popular[citation needed] 1924 edition by Algernon Methuen, called An Anthology of Modern Verse. Subsequently, the firm had produced an anthology edited jointly by Cecil Day-Lewis and L. A. G. Strong. Poets included in Lynd's book were:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]