She was the most complicated woman I can think of ...Very calculating, dutiful, courageous, purposeful, and all built upon a bedrock of humour and love of fun and a bitter sarcasm with a vein of simple coarseness of thought and simple inherited Protestantism.' This new biography of Lady Gregory (1852-1932) removes her from the shadow of the more famous Yeats (she wrote almost entirely the great Abbey Theatre hit Cathleen ni Houlihan, but let Yeats take the credit), and uncovers for the first time the full life of this key figure of the Irish Literary Revival. A founder of the now world-famous Abbey Theatre, she had a profound influence on Yeats and other writers including Henry James and Anthony Trollope. She herself wrote 42 plays, as well as a biography, essays, stories, poems, and an autobiography. Married to a man twice her age, she had an extra-marital affair with the poet and anti-Imperialist Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and at 60, a brief romance with the New York lawyer and art patron John Quinn. Placing Gregory securely into the Ireland of her time, the author shows how Lady Gregory's Nationalism in politics and literature fundamentally shaped her life and work.
Judith Hill is an architect and Writer. She has written two previous books, 'The Building of the Limerick and Irish Public Sculpture: A History' and has taught Irish cultural history and written on the subject for conferences and journals, including the 'Irish Arts Review' and 'The Times Literary Supplement'. She lives in Limerick.