Irish literary renaissance, late 19th- and early 20th-century movement that aimed at reviving ancient Irish folklore, legends, and traditions in new literary works. The movement, also called the Celtic renaissance, was in part the cultural aspect of a political movement that was concerned with self-government for Ireland and discovering a literary past that would be relevant to the struggle for independence. The revival produced some of the best plays of the 20th cent. in the dramas of J. M. Synge and Sean O'Casey and some of the greatest poetry in the works of W. B. Yeats. One of the movement's most impressive achievements was the establishment of the Abbey Theatre. Other important writers of the revival were Lady Gregory, G. W. Russell (pseud. A. E.), and James Stephens. James Joyce was a caustic sometime participant in the movement.
See R. Hogan, After the Irish Renaissance (1967); J. W. Foster, Forces and Themes in Ulster Fichon (1974).
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