Authors: Lady Augusta Gregory

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Irish playwright

Author Works


Spreading the News, pr. 1904

The Rising of the Moon, pb. 1905

Kincora, pr., pb. 1905, revised pr. 1909

The White Cockade, pr. 1905

Hyacinth Halvey, pr., pb. 1906

The Canavans, pr. 1906, revised pb. 1912

The Gaol Gate, pr. 1906

Dervorgilla, pr. 1907

The Jackdaw, pr. 1907

The Workhouse Ward, pr. 1908 (with Douglas Hyde; revision of The Poorhouse, pb. 1903)

Seven Short Plays, pb. 1909

The Travelling Man, pb. 1909

The Image, pr. 1909

The Full Moon, pr. 1910

Coats, pr. 1910

The Deliverer, pr. 1911

Grania, pb. 1912

Damer’s Gold, pr. 1912

The Bogie Men, pr. 1912

Irish Folk-History Plays, pb. 1912

New Comedies, pb. 1913

The Wrens, pr. 1914

Shanwalla, pr. 1915

The Golden Apple, pb. 1916

Hanrahan’s Oath, pr. 1918

The Jester, wr. 1918, pb. 1923

The Dragon, pr. 1919

Aristotle’s Bellows, pr. 1921

The Story Brought by Brigit, pr., pb. 1924

Sancho’s Master, pr. 1927

Dave, pr. 1927

Selected Plays, pb. 1962 (Elizabeth Coxhead, editor)

The Collected Plays of Lady Gregory, pb. 1970 (4 volumes; Ann Saddlemyer, editor)


Our Irish Theatre, 1913

Hugh Lane’s Life and Achievement, 1921

A Case for the Return of Hugh Lane’s Pictures to Dublin, 1926

Coole, 1931

Lady Gregory’s Journals, 1916-1930, 1946 (Lennox Robinson, editor)

Lady Gregory’s Diaries, 1892-1902, 1995 (James Pethica, editor)

Edited Texts:

An Autobiography of Sir William Gregory, 1894

Mr. Gregory’s Letter Box, 1898

Ideals in Ireland, 1901

Cuchulain of Muirthemne, 1902

Poets and Dreamers, 1903

Gods and Fighting Men, 1904

A Book of Saints and Wonders, 1907

The Kiltartan History Book, 1909

The Kiltartan Wonder Book, 1910

The Kiltartan Poetry Book, 1919

Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, 1920 (2 volumes)


Lady Augusta Gregory was born Isabella Augusta Persse, the daughter of a wealthy Anglo-Irish landowner. She was educated privately and in 1880 married Sir William Henry Gregory, the well-known Orientalist, governor of Ceylon, and Irish M.P., who died in 1892. They had one son, Robert, a painter.{$I[AN]9810001490}{$I[A]Gregory, Lady Augusta}{$I[geo]WOMEN;Gregory, Lady Augusta}{$I[geo]IRELAND;Gregory, Lady Augusta}{$I[tim]1852;Gregory, Lady Augusta}

Lady Augusta Gregory

(Library of Congress)

The turning point in Lady Gregory’s life came about through an 1892 meeting with William Butler Yeats, who collaborated with her on several Irish folk plays. With Yeats, Edward Martyn, and George Moore, she began the Irish literary revival that resulted in the founding of the Irish National Theatre Society and later the Abbey Theatre in 1904. To this world-renowned troupe she devoted her interest, playwriting ability, enthusiasm, and financial support. Though she is overshadowed as an author by Yeats and John Millington Synge, her Spreading the News, The Rising of the Moon, and Hyacinth Halvey are excellent one-act Irish peasant plays, and many of her works are masterpieces of suspense, folk humor, and incisiveness. She translated plays by Molière, Carlo Goldoni, and Hermann Sudermann into Irish country speech. Yet she gained her fame principally as playwright, producer, director, and the “godmother” of the Abbey Theatre, a group that would never have been able to perform without her steady guiding hand and masterful diplomacy at home and on English and American tours.

Her later years were saddened by the death of her son in World War I. The Abbey Theatre burned after her death in 1932 but was rebuilt in 1966. Lady Gregory’s influence continues to be felt in the theater. Through her plays and her support of playwrights such as Synge, Yeats, and Sean O’Casey, she left a legacy of Irish pride in their heritage.

BibliographyAdams, Hazard. Lady Gregory. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1973. A brief, incisive introduction to the complete range of Lady Gregory’s writings. The study opens with a biographical summary, following which the author examines, in turn, Lady Gregory’s retelling of the ancient Irish sagas, her plays, and her folklore writings. Includes a chronology and a brief bibliography.Coxhead, Elizabeth. Lady Gregory: A Literary Portrait. London: Martin Secker and Warburg, 1966. A revised and enlarged edition of a 1962 work that uses a biographical approach to concentrate on Lady Gregory’s writings. Lady Gregory’s collaboration with other leading writers of the Irish Literary Revival, such as William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, and Douglas Hyde, are examined. The study also contains a checklist of Lady Gregory’s writings.Gregory, Lady Augusta. Lady Gregory: Interviews and Recollections. Edited by E. H. Mikhail. London: Macmillan, 1977. A selection of excerpts from memoirs, newspapers, and other contemporary sources that provide a composite portrait of Lady Gregory’s public life.Kohfeldt, Mary Lou. Lady Gregory: The Woman Behind the Irish Renaissance. New York: Atheneum, 1985. A narrative biography that provides information about Lady Gregory’s early personal life as well as a thorough account of her involvement with the Irish Literary Revival. While the work’s main emphasis is on the literary personalities among whom Lady Gregory spent the influential part of her life, use is also made of archival material.Mikhail, E. H. Lady Gregory: Interviews and Recollections. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977. Supplements the Coxhead biography by providing a vivid picture of her.Saddlemyer, Ann. In Defense of Lady Gregory, Playwright. London: Oxford University Press, 1966. A sympathetic overview of Lady Gregory’s plays.Saddlemyer, Ann, and Colin Smythe, eds. Lady Gregory: Fifty Years After. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes and Noble Books, 1987. A substantial collection of essays that provide a comprehensive scholarly treatment of Lady Gregory’s life and times. Her playwriting and involvement with the Abbey Theatre provide the volume with its central focus. Also included is a considerable amount of material pertinent to an evaluation of the overall cultural significance of Lady Gregory’s career.Stevenson, Mary Lou Kohfeldt. Lady Gregory: The Woman Behind the Irish Renaissance. New York: Atheneum, 1984. A basic biography of Lady Gregory that covers her life and works. Examines at length her role in the Irish Literary Renaissance. Bibliography and index.Tobin, Seán, and Lois Tobin, eds. Lady Gregory Autumn Gatherings: Reflections at Coole. Galway, Ireland: Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering, 2000. This collection of essays examines Lady Gregory, her life and friends, her professional life, and her writings. Bibliography.
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