Ella Young and Her World: Celtic Mythology, The Irish Revival and The Californian Avant-Garde


McDowell, Dorothea


UCD, Womens Studies

Ella Young (1867-1956) the Irish poet, Celtic mythologist and author presents a number of problems to any researcher—she not only lived an Irish life of almost 60 years but she went on to have a dramatically different life in California that lasted over 30 years until her death. She also managed to write an autobiography that labeled her in many eyes as a Bohemian free spirit and not a a scholar with a vast knowledge of Irish myth and Celtic lore.

Using family papers, letters and diaries, Dorothea McDowell's new research monograph discusses Young's relationship with W. B. Yeats (they were contemporaries), George Moore and J.M.Synge as well as the her California academic world (she taught Irish Mythology at UC Berkeley for 7 years) and the influence she exerted on Robinson Jeffers, Alan Watts, Ansel Adams and Harry Partch (the composer set a number of her poems to music). This geographic bifurcation has muted contemporary interest in this protean figure in Irish literary and cultural life as has the emphasis placed on her eccentricities rather than her extraordinary scholarship. McDowell also deals with the Irish Free State's contentious policies on the Irish language and rural folk culture and the Catholic hierarchies attempts to suppress entirely or to mute various Celtic activities, practices and traditions viewed as competitive or abhorrent to strict Catholic practice.
Irish Research Series, No.69

Irish Studies, Celtic Mythology/Interpretation, Irish Language, Folkways/Cultural anthropology, W.B.Yeats, Irish Free State/ culture and language policies, Irish Catholicism and Robinson Jeffers,Alan Watts and Counter-culture in California, CelticFolklore
Release Date: 
December 10th, 2014
Cloth: 978-1-936320-91-2
Trim Size: 
6 x 9

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