3 July 2007
YEATS, William Butler (1865-1939). Autograph letter signed ('W.B. Yeats'), to [Stephen] Gwynn, Coole Park, 30 July , 6 pages, 8vo
Yeats gives a damning opinion on the play Gwynn sent him for criticism, 'I am very sorry but I don't like your play. It makes me doubt very much if power as a novelist goes with dramatic powers ... you struggle ... & do something which your very talents unfit you for ... there is no characterization -- Emmet might be any young man ... Think what Browning would have done with him ... There is no psychological principle ...,' and he suggests Gwynn send the play to Synge to ask for his sincere opinion adding, 'As it stands ... I would have to vote against it'.
The hero of Gwynn's play was Robert Emmet, the centenary of whose execution was commemorated in 1903. Gwynn began the play in the summer of 1904 but it was neither published nor produced in the theatre. Gwynn's historical novel about the United Irishman appeared in 1909. The author Stephen Lucius Gwynn (1864-1950) was MP for Galway City, 1906-18.
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