Publication of Gaelic Literature (Bryant, 1913)

1.365-67. Sophie Bryant, The Genius of the Gael: A Study in Celtic Psychology and its Manifestations, (London and Leipsic: T. Fisher Unwin, 1913), p.22. BL 012354.g.16

An extract from Sophie Bryant, The Genius of the Gael, (1913), on the appeal of Gaelic literature.

In this passage from Bryant’s book, she notes the date of the first publication of Gaelic literature in a form accessible to the non-Irish-speaking reader and suggests its potential as a unifying force in Ireland, for all that it is “given to the world,” including that of the Irish-speaking Haines.

The Irish Texts Society published its first volume in 1899: now there are twelve such issues of Gaelic texts with scholarly introductions, commentary, and translations. Nor have skilful writers been slow to collect, rearrange, and sometimes rewrite the old stories in popular and attractive forms, preserving the fine style and racy spirit by faithful adherence to the original so far as possible. Historians, too, have been at work dealing “faithfully” with their department of the literature. In a word, the Gaelic literature is being given to the world, and for the Irish of every race the gift is too rich in local colour, too good to be neglected or overlooked. In one form or another it will be read from end to end of Ireland, and like a magnet to iron filings, it will draw together and set in rank the divers members of the Irish people, divided as they are to-day by a political controversy that will soon be set at rest.