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Showing 1-10 of 15 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 20 reviews
on May 18, 2015
Reading James Joyce, I've needed more background. This lively biography of a woman with morphing identity held my attention for a close reading in one gulp. A woman who dined with kings and emperors; whose income came from Irish tenants under pressure from eviction; a former Protestant proselytizer, she may have provided indispensable support of the creative and intellectual efforts which forged an Irish national culture.

Toibin's history of Lady Gregory's and Yeats' relationship is a focal point. As benefactor, she bankrolled him. She let him take credit for her writing. They prevailed together in defending their theater productions against censorship.

The dilemmas we perceive may not have weighed as greatly on her. Toibin concludes: “But her eye remained on her goal: to establish Ireland's ancient past as part of its present culture and to produce contemporary Irish masterpieces in an Irish theatre. She put all her steely energy into this and she succeeded, turning a blind eye to the parts of her own heritage that did not suit her purpose. She lived in two worlds: one of them became the Irish Free State and she was proud of that. The other one disappeared.”

This is the first nonfiction book I've read about Ireland. I do not find it requires any previous familiarity with the subject. I found the google and wikipedia functions in the ebook sufficient annotation. The two Yeats poems written about Lady Gregory and Coole were available in free ebook.
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on June 11, 2017
Whilst undoubtedly well-written (I love Colm Toibin), I just wasn't interested in the story - and despite the enormous contribution to arts and theatre, left the book not liking Lady Gregory and really not liking Yeats.
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VINE VOICEon January 8, 2016
This was a fairly good summary of Lady Gregory's influence on Irish theatre and the nationalistic movement. I was a bit surprised at how anti-feminist this woman was. She seemed not only to distrust but to dislike other women. Nevertheless, she played a major role in the resurrection of Irish literature and culture, and she was friend and patron to Yeats, Singh, O'Casey and others.
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on September 5, 2015
Interesting history on Ireland.
It was a long, hard reading but interesting as I plowed through it. So much going on and so many personalities. I plan on reading it again in order to sort things out. Some of my ancestors arrived from Ireland in the New World in the 1600's fleeing for their lives after their lands were confiscated and this history helps me understand some of that history.
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on February 19, 2009
I have read just about everything that I've found available (in English) of Colm Toibin. As the list of books has grown, I've come to appreciate his candor and writing skills. I appreciated Lady Gregory's Toothbrush because of this refreshing presentation of history. Toibin's connecting of historical persons was delightful since this doesn't often seem to be done (and done so extremely well) by many other authors. Lady Gregory was a real 'corker' to use a bit of slang, someone I just might have enjoyed knowing. I hope some day to connect with Colm Toibin. If his writing style is anything at all like he speaks, he would certainly be more than a delight as someone with whom to spend time!
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on May 25, 2016
Maybe one has to be irish and be more aware of Irish recent history to understand and enjoy better the book written by this aurhor I admire so much.
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on July 16, 2015
As ever with Colm Toibin, a great read highly informative about a remarkable period in Irish life and a beautiful portrait of one of the most important literary figures of early 20th century Irish theatre.
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on June 15, 2016
Fascinating account of late 19th/early 20th century Ireland. Well written and seen through the eyes of people.
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on March 20, 2014
I have long been interested in Irish History, particularly during the fight for Independence. Although I've read many books on the subject, many of which make mention of Lady Gregory, I knew little about her. Colm Toibin did a great job of making her story accessible and full of life.
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on April 24, 2012
My reading of this book was rather personal since we visited Coole Park and the Yates Museum in Co. Galway last summer and have been to the Abbey Theatre several times. Thinking about "The Master" as well, this is the kind of writing that Toibin does best. It is really beautifully executed.
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