Robert Wilson Lynd
Robert Wilson Lynd (Irish: Roibéard Ó Floinn; 20 April 1879 – 6 October 1949) was an Irish writer, editor of poetry, urbane literary essayist and strong Irish nationalist.
Robert Wilson Lynd
Robiard Ó Flionn/Roibeard Ua Flionn
|Born||20 April 1879|
|Died||6 October 1949 (aged 70)|
Hampstead, London, England
|Resting place||Belfast City Cemetery|
|Literary movement||Irish literary revival|
|Children||Máire and Sigle|
|Relatives||Tim Wheeler (grandson)|
Robert Lynd Erskine Lowry (grandnephew)
Lynd was educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where he befriended James Winder Good and Paul Henry, and studied at Queen's University. His father served a term as Presbyterian Church Moderator but he was just one of a long line of Presbyterian clergy in the family. A 2003 essayist on Lynd recounts that his "maternal grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather had all been Presbyterian clergymen."
He began as a journalist, with James Winder Good, on The Northern Whig in Belfast. He moved to London in 1901, via Manchester, sharing accommodation with Paul Henry who was establishing himself as an artist. 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.
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. 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.
He used the pseudonym Y.Z (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 to 1945, 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.
Attendance at a performance in London of the John Millington Synge's play, Riders to the Sea aroused his Irish Nationalist sympathies. These were further radicalised by the Home Rule crisis of 1912-14.  He was appalled at the threat of the use of violence to deliver Ulster from Home Rule and the later decision to postpone the implementation of the Third Home Rule Bill. He later wrote: "Then came August 1914 and England began a war for the freedom of small nations by postponing the freedom of the only small nation in Europe which it was within her power to liberate with the stroke of a pen."
Of James Connolly, Lynd was to write: "among the sixteen men who were executed after the failure of the Irish Insurrection of 1916 there was no nobler or more heroic figure than James Connolly". He described Connolly as "a working-class leader and a Nationalist in almost equal Proportions. He was at once as patriotic as Garibaldi and as revolutionary as Lenin". At the request of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, Lynd wrote an introduction to a new edition of James Connolly’s Labour in Irish history, first published in 1910.
Personal life and deathEdit
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.
In March 1924, Robert and Sylvia moved to what was to be their long-term married home, the elegant Regency house of 5 Keats Grove in the leafy suburb of Hampstead, north-west London. The house had been lived in by various members of Sylvia's (Dryhurst) family.
Lynd died in Hampstead in 1949. He is buried in Belfast City Cemetery. Seán McBride, Minister for External Affairs, attended the funeral as the representative of the government of the Republic of Ireland.
- The Mantle Of The Emperor (1906) with Ladbroke Black
- Irish and English (1908)
- Home Life in Ireland (1909)
- Rambles in Ireland (1912)
- The Book of This and That (1915)
- If the Germans Conquered England (1917)
- Old and New Masters (1919)
- Ireland a Nation (1919)
- The Art of Letters (1920)
- The Passion of Labour (1920) New Statesman articles
- The Pleasures of Ignorance (1921)
- Solomon in All His Glory (1922)
- The Sporting Life and Other Trifles (1922)
- Books and Authors (1922)
- The Blue Lion (1923)
- Selected Essays (1923)
- The Peal of Bells (1924)
- The Money Box (1925)
- The Orange Tree (1926)
- The Little Angel (1926)
- Dr. Johnson and Company (1927)
- The Goldfish (1927)
- The Silver Books of English Sonnets (1927), editor
- The Green Man (1928)
- It's a Fine World (1930)
- Rain, Rain, go to Spain (1931)
- Great Love Stories of All Nations (1932), editor
- "Y.Y." An Anthology of Essays (1933)
- The Cockleshell (1933)
- Both Sides of the Road (1934)
- I Tremble to Think (1936)
- In Defence of Pink (1937)
- Searchlights and Nightingales (1939)
- An Anthology of Modern Poetry (1939), editor
- Life's Little Oddities (1941), illustrated by Steven Spurrier
- Further Essays of Robert Lynd (1942)
- Things One Hears (1945), illustrated by Claire Oldham
- Essays on Life and Literature (1951)
- Books and Writers (1952)
- Essays by Robert Lynd (1959)
- Galway of the Races – Selected essays (1990), edited by Sean McMahon
- Without Glasses — abridged
- Wesley McCann (2006). "Robert Lynd Biography (free sample)". Dictionary of Literary Biography. Book Rags. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Allen, Nicholas. "Good, James Winder". Dictionary of Irish Biography. Royal Irish Academy. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
- Profile, ulsterhistory.co.uk; accessed 21 February 2017.
- Robert and Sylvia were considered 'powerful' figures of London literary life: Sarah LeFanu, Rose Macaulay (2003), p. 153.
- New Statesman America
- Preface to Nora Connolly O'Brien (1935), James Connolly: Portrait of a Rebel Father. Tlabor Press, Dublin
- "Robert Lynd: essayist and Irishman". History Ireland. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- "Robert Wilson (1879–1949): Journalist and writer". Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Wilson, N. (2017, "'So now tell me what you think!’': Sylvia Lynd's collaborative reading and reviewing the work of an interwar middlewoman". Literature & History. ISSN 0306-1973. University of Reading.
- "Robert Lynd: essayist and Irishman". History Ireland. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
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