Flowering Dusk: Things Remembered Accurately and Inaccurately by Ella Young
New York : Longmans, Green and Co., 1945. Second printing. Hardcover. 356 pages ; 21 cm. $3.50 dust jacket. Pages toned. Binding is firm. No markings to pages.
By ELLA YOUNG
ELLA YOUNG is one of Ireland's great artists. Poet, dreamer, singer, she is a member of that brilliant group including Padraic Colum, William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, Dr. Douglas Hyde, Fiona Macleod, JE (George Russell) and James Stephens, which has given such vitality to the Celtic Renaissance in literature.
FLOWERING DUSK is the Story of her life in Ireland and in America, but it is not an autobiography in the usual sense; for out of her vivid imagination and in her own inimitable style she weaves a pattern of pictures with half remembered meanings—pictures of her girlhood in the south of Ireland, the world of elves, fairies and ghosts. Later after graduation from the Royal University in Dublin she began her researches in Celtic mythology. She sought her materials first hand by learning to speak the Gaelic language and by living among the peasants in isolated regions of Ireland, where the lovely old legends and splendid sagas which are the secret of the Irish peasant spirit, are still kept alive.
To many readers the period of her life spent in Dublin will be fascinating. It was the period of a literary Ireland being reborn in an atmosphere of political revolt. Through her eyes we see the "Easter Rising" of 1916 in a new, sympathetic light. So many of the participants were her close friends, so close to their sufferings was she that for the first time the impartial reader feels the human rebellion against tyranny which history has so coldly judged.
Ella Young came to America in 1925 after publishing her Celtic Wonder Tales. Then followed publication of The Wonder Smith and His Son, the Irish creation myth, and The Tangle-coated Horse. These books were a new departure in the telling of folk stories, the latter being her own enchanting interpretation of the Fionn Saga. Later came The Unicorn with Silver Shoes.
In 1931 she gained permanent admission to the United States, announcing her intention to become an American citizen. She settled finally in California where she has known most of the important literary and artistic figures of our times. Treated in FLOWERING DUSK in intimate manner, are the literary great of Ireland and such well known American writers as Charles Erskine Scott Wood, Sara Bard Field, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and many others.
As for her impressions of the country itself, her own words are fitting tribute and apt appreciation.
"I am ... in a country that is all delicate pale gold, and the ghost of pale gold, and tawny orange, and bronze and amber, wherever it is not ermined snow. A country strong and subtle and graceful as her own mountain lions and cypress trees . . ."
Always as in the present volume she has voiced a wish for the goodwill of Ireland and America—"The Tawny Lioness" being Miss Young's symbol for her adopted homeland.
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