This is the first full length, annotated and referenced biography of George William Russell, better known by his pen-name – A E. ‘That myriad minded man’ as Archbishop Gregg called him, was a mystic, visionary, poet, artist, pacifist and patriot – aspects balanced by (as with most true mystics) his practical views as an economist and journalist.
He was an ardent supporter and organiser of Sir Horace Plunkett’s Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, travelling through every county in Ireland talking to the farmers about the advantages of cooperatives.
Russell was editor of The Irish Homestead, and its successor, The Irish Statesman. In 1932 as a result of his vast experience in the field, he was invited by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to come to America to advise them on cooperation, an invitation he accepted.
For years he has been overshadowed by greater contemporaries particularly his friend and ‘enemy’, W. B. Yeats, with whom he agreed to differ on occult matters, for A.E., remained strongly influenced by Theosophical teachings, while Yeats did not.
A.E., was the greatest visionary of his time and we are fortunate that as he was an artist, (whose pictures are becoming increasingly valued), `and we have the visual records of the wonderful beings that he ‘saw’. Few in history have led such a many-sided life as he – a ‘complete’ man, a great man, who has been unjustly neglected since his death in 1935.
About the author
Henry Summerfield was born in England, and attended the Universities of Oxford and Durham. He ‘taught at the M. S. University of Baroda, India, from 1962 to 1964 and for the following two years at the University of Illinois. He was Associate Professor of English at the University of Victoria, B.C. and General Editor of the Collected Edition of AE’s writings, the first volumes of which are major selections from his articles and editorials in The Irish Homestead and The Irish Statesman, which he also edited.
He is also author of An Introductory Guide to the Anathemata and the Sleeping Lord Sequence of David Jones, and A Guide to the Books of William Blake for Innocent and Experienced Readers, which Bill Goldman in the Journal of the Blake Society wrote about the latter: ‘It’s nearly 900 pages comprise the most helpful overview of Blake’s works and of Blake criticism I have ever come across ... Highly recommended.’
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published March 28, 2023
Size: 5.25 x 8 inches / 203 x 133 mm