YEATS AND MacBRIDE

 

A chara, - In his new biography of W.B. Yeats, Roy Foster, the revisionist historian, has regurgitated the shocking accusations/allegations made against Major John MacBride by Maud Gonne during their bitter divorce case in Paris in 1905-6. Maud Gonne's version of these accusations/allegations was accepted totally by Yeats, who in turn is treated as an unbiassed authority by Professor Foster. All this despite the fact that MacBride successfully rebutted the charges in court.

The Irish Times, by publishing, extensive extracts from Foster's book, is an accessory after the fact. Kevin Myers in "An Irishman's Diary" weighed in by ascribing unpleasant epithets (paederastic child abuser, sexually molested his 11 year old stepdaughter, seduced his wife's teenage half sister) to Major MacBride. Myers's authority is Foster, of whom he writes: "These events were hushed up, but we know of them now, thanks to Roy."

These accusations/allegations were dealt with extensively in 1991 in my book. Major John MacBride 1855-1916. They are dealt with again, and rebutted in my forthcoming book, Willie Yeats and the GonneMacBrides which will be published on April 24th.

I look forward to coverage of my book by your paper so as to redress the balance on a great man, who died a heroic death on behalf of this country, but who was demeaned by another great Irishman, W.B. Yeats, in his poem Easter 1916. - Yours, etc.,

Gilford Road,

Dublin 4.