Autobiography, Ireland, Literary Criticism
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies
I N 1947, ten years before her death at the age of 7I, Mary Catherine Gunning Maguire Colum-Molly to her friends and her husband, the poet-dramatist Padraic Colum-published one ofthe most forthright and powerful protofeminist autobiographies ofthe twentieth century: Life and the Dream, a book that should not be as neglected as it is. What was or is the dream? It was a dream ofmany episodes: the hope ofa free, prosperous, peaceful, united Ireland; the fulfillment ofthe Irish Literary Revival which she so brilliantly chronicles as a participant-witness in the autobiography, and before in her masterwork of literary criticism: From These Roots: Ideas That Made Modern Literature (1937); and perhaps most of all a dream of equality for women in the male-dominated world of AngloIrish- American letters; for Colum never forgot that the Irish writer she admired most, really worshipped, her friend Yeats, had advised her not to follow a career in creative writing, her first love, but to pursue criticism, because "women were better at that" and a woman could never hope to succeed as a writer of fiction and verse.
Sternlicht, Sanford. "Declaration of Independence: Mary Colum as Autobiographer," The Courier 1997: 25-34.