Frank Hugh O'Donnell


Frank Hugh O’Donnell was an Irish politician and journalist, known as a fierce opponent of British imperialism and the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. He was born Francis Hugh MacDonald at a barracks in Devon to a sergeant in the British Army. He was educated in Galway at a Jesuit high school and then at Queen’s College, where he rapidly earned a reputation as an orator and controversialist.

In 1874 he was elected Member of Parliament for Galway but, in a judgment probably influenced by political bias, was convicted of electoral malpractice and removed from office. Undeterred, he returned to the Commons three years later as Member for Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, and held that seat until its abolition in 1885. A provocative and popular figure within the Home Rule League, he served the party with champion filibustering and in 1888 he launched the historic libel action against The Times which led to C. S. Parnell’s exoneration from conspiracy in the Phoenix Park Murders.

In Parliament he often spoke on British imperialism in India in analogy with Irish matters. He received a schooling in Indian nationalism from his friend G. M. Tagore, with whom he, J.C. Meenakshya and four other Irish MPs joined in 1875 to form the Constitutional Society of India. Further information was gleaned from his brother Charles J. O’Donnell, an civil servant in Bihar who earned the nickname ‘the enfant terrible of the ICS’ for his public criticism and exposure of government policy. In 1882 he told Parliament that the Irish Party were ‘the natural representatives and spokesmen for the unrepresented nationalities of the empire’ and in 1883 he threw his weight behind a premature campaign to have Dadabhai Naoroji elected to Parliament. In 1905 he sent a message of support to Shyamji Krishnavarma upon his inauguration of India House.

Defeated by Parnell in his bid for the party leadership, O'Donnell abandoned parliamentary politics and, after joining the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians), pursued a chequered career of furious pamphleteering. During the Boer War he secured funds from the Transvaal Government to militate against Irish enlistment, but he was later accused of pocketing the money and condemned by the United Irishman. He spent much of his later career campaigning for secular and mixed education in a series of determined sallies against the political might of the Catholic clergy. He died unmarried at London, and is buried at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Published works: 

Souls for Gold (1901)

Paraguay on Shannon (1908)

A History of the Irish Parliamentary Party, 2 vols (1910)

Date of birth: 
09 Oct 1846

Maud Gonne, Shyamji Krishnavarma, J. C. Meenakshya, Dadabhai Naoroji, T. P. O’Connor, Charles J. O’Donnell, Charles Stewart Parnell, G. M. Tagore, Alfred Webb, W. B. Yeats.

Secondary works: 

Jeffery, Keith, An Irish Empire? Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1996)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (Pluto Press, London, 2002)

City of birth: 
Devonport, Devon
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Francis Hugh O'Donnell

Date of death: 
02 Nov 1916
Location of death: 
London, England
Tags for Making Britain: 

George Russell (AE)


A chance reading of the Upanishads in the mid 1880s, and a friendship with Charles Johnston from 1885, led Russell to a study of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Russell was drawn into Theosophical circles through Johnston and W. B. Yeats. In 1885, he met Mohini Chatterjee in Dublin and was greatly impressed by him. This acquaintance encouraged Russell to pursue his study of Indian philosophy and literature further. In 1890, Russell gave up Art School, formally joined the Theosophical Society and dedicated the next seven years to pursuing 'the path of mysticism'. Russell spent a lot of time in meditation and became interested in yoga. Hindu and Buddhist philosophy became an influence on his poetry and artistic works, although he was also inspired by visions and his 'natural mysticism'.

Russell was known for his thorough knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita and this led to interactions with South Asian visitors to the UK, as did his friendship with Yeats. When Purohit Swami arrived in the UK in 1930, he came bearing a letter of introduction to Russell written by E. E. Speight. In Yeats's introduction to the translation of The Ten Principal Upanishads by Yeats and Purohit Swami (1937), he drew attention to the influence of Russell on him. Yeats told how Russell had been quoting the Upanishads for the 'last forty years'. Russell also had connections with Rabindranath Tagore and Ranjee G. Shahani. Shahani remarks in a letter to Tagore in 1934 that AE had often spoken of Tagore to him. In 1931, Russell was invited to meet Mahatma Gandhi in London, whose theory of non-violence had been advocated by Russell in The Interpreters, but was unable to meet him as his wife fell ill.

Published works: 

Works include (in chronological order): 

The Earth Breath and Other Poems (1897)

The Divine Vision and Other Poems (1904)

Imaginations and Reveries (1915)

The Candle of Vision (1918)

The Interpreters (1922)

Song and its Fountains (1932)

The Living Torch (1937)

Date of birth: 
10 Apr 1867
Secondary works: 

Kuch, Peter R., ‘Russell, George William (1867–1935)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004)[]

Kuch, Peter, Yeats and A.E. 'The antagonism that unites dear friends' (Gerards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1986)

Lennon, Joseph, Irish Orientalism (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2004)

Summerfield, Henry, That Myriad-Minded Man: A Biography of George William Russell "AE" 1867-1935 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1975)

Archive source: 

Correspondence files in Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington

Papers, Armagh County Museum, Northern Ireland

Papers, National Library of Ireland, Dublin

Some Correspondence Files, Manuscript Collection, British Library, St Pancras


City of birth: 
Lurgan, Ulster
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Northern Ireland
Other names: 


George William Russell

Date of death: 
17 Jul 1935

T. W. Rolleston


T. W. Rolleston graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1878 and was editor of the Dublin University Review from May 1885 to December 1885. He was friends with W. B. Yeats and helped found the Irish Literary Society in London in 1892. Rolleston was a journalist who wrote for the Irish press and then moved to Hampstead, North London, in 1909. He was a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, specialising in Oriental subjects.

In 1910, Rolleston was involved in the foundation of the India Society. He acted as Treasurer and then Honorary Secretary of the Society. Rolleston was involved in the aim of establishing a Lectureship in Indian Art at the School of Oriental Studies, but was unsuccessful in raising enough funds before his death in 1920.

Harihar Das called Rolleston 'a friend of India' and praised him for 'his service to Indian culture' in an obituary written for The Asiatic Review in January 1922.

Date of birth: 
01 May 1857

T. W. Arnold, Mohini Chatterjee (Rolleston was editor of Dublin University Review in August 1885 when it mentioned the anticipated arrival of Mohini Chatterjee to Dublin later that year), Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, A. H. Fox-Strangways, K. G. Gupta, E. B. HavellChristiana HerringhamWilliam Rothenstein, Rabindranath Tagore, W. B. Yeats (in Dublin)


Harihar Das, 'Obituary', The Asiatic Review XVIII. 53, (January 1922), pp. 119-122

Involved in events: 

Formation of India Society, March 1910.

City of birth: 
Glasshouse, Shinrone
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Thomas William Hazen Rolleston

Date of death: 
05 Dec 1920

Charlotte Despard


Charlotte Despard had a long and varied career in public life. In 1870, Charlotte French married Maximilian Carden Despard, an Anglo-Irish businessman who had worked in the Far East. Despard travelled with her husband to India and other Asian countries and wrote novels until his death in 1890.

Despard was very religious, and turned from her converted Roman Catholic background to Theosophy in 1899. She became a vegetarian and was Vice-President of the London Vegetarian Society in 1931. She was a member of the Executive Board of the World Congress of Faiths in the 1930s.

Despard became a Poor Law Guardian in Lambeth, London, in 1894. She was known to wear simple black clothing and sandals. She was a leading member of the suffragette movement in Britain, as a member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). In 1907, the suffragette movement split over methodology and Despard then presided over the Women's Freedom League. She was heavily involved in the Women's Tax Resistance League. Sophia Duleep Singh was also a prominent female tax resister. In 1909 Despard met Mohandas Gandhi in London in relation to her work with the WFL. 

In 1918, Despard stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate when women over 30 were given the vote. Despard had shown her sympathies for the Irish Home Rule League, and despite her socialist-pacifist leanings, became involved with Sinn Fein. Her involvement with Sinn Fein was a blow to her brother, John French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In 1921, Despard moved to Ireland and shared a house with Maud Gonne. She continued to travel to London and Europe, but died in Ireland in 1939.

Published works: 

Economic Aspects of Woman's Suffrage (London: King, 1908)

Jonas Sylvester (London: Sonnenschein and Co., 1886)

Collins, Mabel and Despard, Charlotte, Outlawed: A Novel on the Suffrage Question (London: Drame, 1908)

The Rajah's Heir. A Novel (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1890)

Theosophy and the Women's Movement (London: Theosophical Society, 1913)

Date of birth: 
15 Jun 1844

Annie Besant, Mohandas Gandhi, Maud Gonne, Keir Hardie, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Sarojini Naidu, Emmeline Pankhurst, Sophia Duleep Singh.

Sinn Fein, Women's Freedom League, Women's Social and Political Union, Women's Tax Resistance League

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Herald of the Star

The Vote: The Organ of the Women's Freedom League

Secondary works: 

Dixon, Joy, The Divine Feminine: Theosophy and Feminism in England (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2001)

Hunt, James D., 'Suffragettes and Satyagraha: Gandhi and the British Women's Suffrage Movement', presented to Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion at St Louis, Missouri, 29 October 1976

Linklater, Andro, Charlotte Despard: Suffragette, Socialist and Sinn Feiner (London: Hutchinson, 1980)

Mulvihill, Margaret, Charlotte Despard (London: Pandora, 1989)

Mulvihill, Margaret, ‘Despard, Charlotte (1844–1939)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2008) []

Archive source: 

Letters, diaries and papers, The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University, London

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast

Minutes of the Lambeth Board of Guardians, London Metropolitan Archives

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Charlotte French

Date of death: 
10 Nov 1939
Location of death: 
Whitehead, near Belfast
Tags for Making Britain: 

Iseult Gonne


Iseult Gonne was the daughter of the Irish nationalist, Maud Gonne. As an illegitimate daughter who lived in France, it was not until the divorce case between Maud Gonne and John MacBride took place in 1905-6 that her existence became known to the wider public. W. B. Yeats, Maud Gonne's lifelong admirer, knew of Iseult's existence from 1898 and became a close part of her life. Yeats proposed to Maud Gonne in July 1916 and then Iseult soon after. He was rejected by both. Maud and Iseult Gonne were both the subjects of a number of poems written by Yeats.

In 1913, Iseult met Rabindranath Tagore. Inspired by his poetry, she began to learn Bengali in 1914. She was tutored by Devabrata Mukerjea, with whom she also had an affair. Together, in France, they translated some of Tagore's The Gardener into French directly from the Bengali. Tagore left it to Yeats' discretion to decide the merit of the work, but Yeats did not feel sufficiently bilingual in French to judge them. The translations were never published. Iseult attracted a number of other men, including Ezra Pound. In 1920, she married Francis Stuart, a poet of Ulster descent. When Maud Gonne died in 1953, Iseult was not acknowledged as her mother's daughter in her will. Iseult died a year later.

Date of birth: 
06 Aug 1894

Maud Gonne (mother), Devabrata Mukerjea (Bengali tutor and lover), Ezra Pound, Francis Stuart (husband), Rabindranath Tagore, William Butler Yeats.

Secondary works: 

Finneran, R. J., Harper, G. M., and Murphy, W. M. (eds), Letters to W. B. Yeats, volume 2, (London: Macmillan, 1977)

Jeffares, A. Norman and White, Anna MacBride (eds), Always Your Friend: The Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938 (London: Pimlico, 1992)

Jeffares, A. Norman, White, Anna MacBride, and Bridgwater, Christina (eds), Letters to W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound from Iseult Gonne (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

MacBride, Maud Gonne, A Servant of the Queen: Her Own Story (London: Victor Gollancz, 1938)

Toomey, Deirdre, ‘Stuart , Iseult Lucille Germaine (1894–1954)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Archive source: 

Letters, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Letters from Iseult Stuart to Frank Stuart, University of Ulster, Coleraine

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Iseult Lucille Germaine Stuart

Date of death: 
22 Mar 1954
Location of death: 
Tags for Making Britain: 

Maud Gonne


Maud Gonne was an Irish nationalist who made various links with the Indian independence movement. She had an extremely close relationship with W. B. Yeats throughout her life, was the mother of Iseult Gonne and knew Rabindranath Tagore, but also had a separate public political life. Although she was born in England to English parents, Gonne became a vocal and passionate Irish nationalist. Her father, a Cavalry Major, had been posted to Ireland and Maud Gonne lived there for a number of years in her childhood. When her father was posted to India in 1879, the children moved to the South of France.

Gonne moved between socialist and right-wing sympathies, but was always commited to Irish nationalism. As the Irish and Indian independence movements began to find many areas of common ground, Maud Gonne developed links with Indian nationalists. She became friends with the India House organization, and was featured in Krishnavarma's Indian Sociologist. When Savarkar was imprisoned at Brixton in 1910, Gonne helped David Garnett and Irish radicals co-ordinate a failed attempt to help Savarkar escape. Gonne liaised with other Indian nationalists such as Vithalbhai Patel, and in 1932 put together the Indian-Irish Independence League (IIIL) with Indulal Yajnik. Her son, Seán MacBride held various posts in the IRA and became Chief of Staff in 1936, although he left the Association soon after. Gonne shared a house with her son and his family in Dublin, where she died in 1953.

Published works: 

A Servant of the Queen: Her Own Story (London: Victor Gollancz, 1938)

Date of birth: 
21 Dec 1866

Charlotte Despard, David Garnett, Iseult Gonne (daughter), John MacBride (husband), Seán MacBride (son), Vithalbhai Patel, Rabindranath Tagore, Indulal Yajnik, William Butler Yeats.

Indian-Irish Independence League (IIIL)

Secondary works: 

Levenson, Samuel, Maud Gonne (London: Cassell, 1977)

Londraville, Janis and Richard (eds), Too Long a Sacrifice: The Letters of Maud Gonne and John Quinn (London: Associated University Presses, 1999)

MacBride White, Anna and Jeffares, A. Norman (eds), Always Your Friend: The Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938 (London: Pimlico, 1992)

O'Malley, Kate, Ireland, India and Empire: Indo-Irish Radical Connections, 1919-64 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008)

Steele, Karen (ed.), Maud Gonne's Irish Nationalist Writings, 1895-1946 (Dublin: Irish Academi

Toomey, Deirdre, ‘Gonne, (Edith) Maud (1866–1953)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008) []

Ward, Margaret, Maud Gonne: A Life (London: Pandora, 1990)

Archive source: 

MacBride family papers, private collection

Letters, New York Public Library

City of birth: 
Farnham, Surrey
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Maud Edith Gonne

Maud Gonne MacBride

Date of death: 
27 Apr 1953
Location of death: 
Dublin, Ireland
Tags for Making Britain: 

George Bernard Shaw


George Bernard Shaw was an Anglo-Irish playwright and political activist. Born and schooled in Dublin, he came to England in 1876. He educated himself by reading in the British Museum, and started his writing career as a music and literary critic for several periodicals. After unsuccessful attempts at novel writing, Shaw turned to drama. He wrote over sixty plays in the course of his life, including Man and Superman (1903), Pygmalion (1912; posthumously adapted as a musical ‘My Fair Lady’) and Saint Joan (1923). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925.

Shaw, inspired by Henry George’s work, became a committed socialist in the 1880s. In 1884, he joined the newly formed Fabian Society, and gave lectures and wrote articles to further its causes. Shaw was also a vegetarian, and supported Henry Salt’s Humanitarian League and its commitment to animal rights. During the First World War, he indefatigably campaigned for international peace and negotiation.

Shaw was an outspoken supporter of the Indian independence movement and a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he met in 1931 in London. Gandhi was also an admirer of Shaw’s works. Shaw visited India in 1933, but the two could not meet as Gandhi was imprisoned at the time. Shaw also met Rabindranath Tagore in London in May 1913. Two of Shaw’s close female friends later went to India and devoted themselves to Indian causes: Annie Besant and the actress Florence Farr. Shaw met Besant in 1885; she asked him to introduce her to the Fabian Society, and serialized Shaw’s novels The Irrational Knot and Love among Artists in her magazine Our Corner. The actress Florence Farr was at one time Shaw’s mistress, and Shaw frequently met W. B. Yeats at Farr’s home in London. In 1937, Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism was reissued by Krishna Menon’s Pelican Books, inaugurating Penguin’s paperback list.

Published works: 

A Manifesto, Fabian Tracts 2 (London: Standring, 1884)

Cashel Byron’s Profession (London: Modern Press, 1886)

An Unsocial Socialist (London: Sonnenschein, Lowrey, 1887)

The Quintessence of Ibsenism (London: Scott, 1891)

Widowers’ Houses (London: Henry, 1893)

Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant, 2 vols (London: Grant Richards, 1898)

The Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Ring of the Niblungs (London: Grant Richards, 1898)

Love among the Artists (unauthorized edition, Chicago: Stone, 1900; authorized, revised edition, London: Constable, 1914)

Three Plays for Puritans (London: Grant Richards, 1901)

Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosophy (Westminster: Constable, 1903)

The Common Sense of Municipal Trading (Westminster: Constable, 1904)

Fabianism and the Fiscal Question: An Alternative Policy (London: Fabian Society, 1904)

The Irrational Knot (London: Constable, 1905)

Dramatic Opinions and Essays, 2 vols (London: Constable, 1907)

John Bull’s Other Island and Major Barbara, also includes How He Lied to Her Husband (London: Constable, 1907)

The Sanity of Art: An Exposure of the Current Nonsense about Artists Being Degenerate (London: New Age Press, 1908)

Press Cuttings (London: Constable, 1909)

The Doctor’s Dilemma, Getting Married, and The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet (London: Constable, 1911)

Misalliance, The Dark Lady of Sonnets, and Fanny’s First Play, with a Treatise on Parents and Children (London: Constable, 1914)

Common Sense about the War (London: Statesman, 1914)

Androcles and the Lion, Overruled, Pygmalion (London: Constable, 1916)

How to Settle the Irish Question (Dublin: Talbot Press, 1917; London: Constable, 1917)

Peace Conference Hints (London: Constable, 1919)

Heartbreak House, Great Catherine, and Playlets of the War (London: Constable, 1919)

Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch (London: Constable, 1921)

Saint Joan (London: Constable, 1924)

(with Archibald Henderson) Table-Talk of G. B. S.: Conversations on Things in General between George Bernard Shaw and His Biographer (London: Chapman & Hall, 1925)

Translations and Tomfooleries (London: Constable, 1926)

The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (London: Constable, 1928); enlarged and republished as The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism, 2 vols (London: Penguin, 1937)

Immaturity (London: Constable, 1930)

The Apple Cart (London: Constable, 1930)

What I Really Wrote about the War (London: Constable, 1930)

Our Theatres in the Nineties (London: Constable, 1931)

Music in London, 1890-1894 (London: Constable, 1931)

The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God (London: Constable, 1932)

Too True to Be Good, Village Wooing & On the Rocks: Three Plays (London: Constable, 1934)

The Simpleton, The Six, and The Millionairess (London: Constable, 1936)

London Music in 1888-89 as Heard by Corno di Bassetto (Later Known as Bernard Shaw), with Some Further Autobiographical Particulars (London: Constable, 1937)

Geneva: A Fancied Page of History in Three Acts (London: Constable, 1939; enlarged, 1940)

Shaw Gives Himself Away: An Autobiographical Miscellany (Newtown, Montgomeryshire: Gregynog Press, 1939)

In Good King Charles’s Golden Days (London: Constable, 1939)

Everybody’s Political What’s What? (London: Constable, 1944)

Major Barbara: A Screen Version (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1946)

Geneva, Cymbeline Refinished, & Good King Charles (London: Constable, 1947)

Sixteen Self Sketches (London: Constable, 1949)

Buoyant Billions: A Comedy of No Manners in Prose (London: Constable, 1950)

An Unfinished Novel, ed. by Stanley Weintraub (London: Constable, 1958)

Shaw: An Autobiography, 1856-1898, compiled and ed. by Weintraub (New York: Weybright & Talley, 1969)

Shaw: An Autobiography, 1898-1950. The Playwright Years, compiled and ed. by Weintraub (London: Reinhardt, 1970)

Passion Play: A Dramatic Fragment, 1878, ed. by Jerald E. Bringle (Iowa City: University of Iowa at the Windhover Press, 1971)

The Road to Equality: Ten Unpublished Lectures and Essays, 1884-1918, ed. by Louis Crompton and Hilayne Cavanaugh (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971)

Flyleaves, ed. by Dan H. Laurence and Daniel J. Leary (Austin, Tex.: W. Thomas Taylor, 1977)

Bernard Shaw: The Diaries 1885-1897, 2 vols, ed. by Weintraub (University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1986)


New York Times, 9 January 1933, p. 12

Date of birth: 
26 Jul 1856

George Bernard Shaw arrived in Bombay in January 1933, and was greeted by a group of Indian journalists, to which he gave this speech. A longer version of this article appeared in the Daily Herald (9 January 1933), under the title ‘Mr Shaw May Visit Gandhi in Jail’. This reported Shaw’s wish to see Gandhi, who was being imprisoned in Poona.


Mulk Raj Anand, William Archer, Annie Besant, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, Robert Bridges, Max Beerbohm, H. N. Brailsford, G. K. Chesterton, W. H. Davies, Bonamy Dobrée, Rajani Palme Dutt, E. M. Forster, M. K. Gandhi, Henry George, Lady Gregory, Frank Harris, C. E. M. Joad, Augustus John, Jiddu Krishnamurti, John Lane, Harold Laski, T. E. Lawrence, Raymond Marriott, Eleanor Marx, V. K. Krishna Menon, Naomi Mitchison, May Morris, William Morris, Gilbert Murray, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sydney Haldane Olivier, A. R. Orage, Paul Robeson, Shapurji Saklatvala, Henry Salt, W. T. Stead, The Sitwells, Rabindranath Tagore, Ellen Terry, W. B. Yeats, Ensor Walters, Avabai Wadia, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, H. G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Leonard Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Israel Zangwill.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Shaw wrote book reviews for Pall Mall Gazette (1885-8), art criticism for the World (1886-1894), and musical columns in the Star. From 1895 to 1898, he was a theatre critic for the Saturday Review. He was an art critic for Annie Besant’s Our Corner and later contributed to her Anglo-Indian weekly the Commonweal. Shaw also contributed to H. N. Brailsford’s New Leader, and to a large number of periodicals.

Commonweal (‘Indian Cowardice and Edinburgh Pluck’ I, 26 June 1914, pp. 3-4)

Theosophist (‘Mrs Besant as a Fabian Socialist’ 39, October 1917, pp. 9-19)

Current Thought, Madras (‘The Efficacy of Non-Violence’ I, October 1924, pp. 13-14)

New India, Madras (‘Real Disarmament is Impossible: An Interview with Bernard Shaw' 12, 29 May 1928, evening edition, pp. 1-3)

The Hindu, Madras (‘“Won’t Bear Talking About”: “G.B.S.” on Indian Situation: Reply to Dr. Tagore’s Message’, 19 January 1933, p. 7:5)

The Times (‘In Memory of Mrs. Annie Besant' 20 October 1933)

The Dominion, Wellington, and New Zealand Herald (‘Broadcast Ban on Krishnamurti’ 28 March 1934)

Daily Telegraph (‘Mr G. B. Shaw on the Moscow Lecture’, 17 July 1934, p. 12:7)

Madras Mail (‘How India can Serve the Mahatma: Bernard Shaw’s Advice’, 9, 2 October 1937, pp. 4-6)

Manchester Guardian (‘Light from Mr. Shaw on India’s Problems, 23 January 1939, p. 7)

New York Journal-American (‘Shaw Is Sorry, Not Surprised at India’s “No”’ 6, 12 April 1941, pp. 7-8)

Forward (‘G. B. S. on India’ 36, 12 September 1942, p. 4)

The Times (‘Mr. G. B. Shaw on Gandhi “Blunder”’ 27 February 1943, p. 2)

Daily Sketch (‘“G. B. S.” Gives These Views on India, 28 August 1943, p. 4)

Reynolds News (‘G. B. Shaw Gives Churchill a Tip about India’, 1 October 1944, p. 3)

Manchester Guardian (‘Mr Bernard Shaw & the Split Vote Against Mr Amery’, 30 June 1945, p. 6)

The Hindu, Madras (‘Shaw on India’s Demand’, 28 March 1946, p. 5)

New York World-Telegram (‘Shaw Solves India and Other Problems’, 11 May 1946, p. 9)

Times of Ceylon Sunday Illustrated (‘Shaw on New India’, 23 June 1946, p. 3)

Daily Worker (‘Shaw is Questioned on India’, 30 December 1946, p. 2)

New York Journal-American (‘Shaw Sees Little Indian Harmony’, 24 February 1947, p. 2)

Cavalcade (‘G. B. S. on India’, IX, 3 December 1947, p. 4)

The Freethinker (‘G.B.S. and Mrs. Besant’, 63, 11 January 1948, p. 19)


Cecil Chesterton, Temple Bar 8, August 1906, pp. 97-107

Harold J. Laski, The Rev. M. C. D’Arcy, A. L. Rowse and Kenneth Pickthorn, Criterion 8.31, December 1928, pp. 185-214 (Intelligent Woman’s Guide)

J. S. Collins, Aryan Path 4.3, March 1933, pp. 191-5 (The Adventure of the Black Girl in Her Search for God)


Shaw in Bombay Extols Gandhi  

BOMBAY, Jan. 8. George Bernard Shaw arrived in India for the first time today, confessing his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi as ‘a clear-headed man who occurs only once in several centuries’.

Bronzed by the Eastern sun, Mr. Shaw stood on the deck of the Empress of Britain, which is taking him on a world cruise, and gave Indian newspaper men rapid-fire opinions of the Mahatma and Indian affairs generally.

‘It is very hard for people to understand Gandhi, with the result that he gets tired of people and threatens a fast to kill himself’, Mr. Shaw said. ‘If I saw Gandhi I should say to him, “Give it up, it is not your job.”

‘The people who are the most admired are the people who kill the most. If Gandhi killed 6,000,000 people he would instantly become an important person. All this talk of disarmament is nonsense, for if people disarm they will fight with their fists.’

Referring to Mr. Gandhi’s present crusade against Untouchability, Mr. Shaw said that if an English labourer proposed to marry a duchess he would very soon find out that he was an Untouchable.

‘That gives me enough to think about without bothering to know anything about the Indian Untouchables’, said the author, with a grin.

Indian affairs, he continued, would henceforth have to be dealt with by Indians themselves.

‘In any future disputes between the Indians and British Governments India must not expect any support from other countries’, he declared. ‘From the viewpoint of population, India is the centre of the British Empire. It is quite possible that in the future, instead of India wanting to be separated from England, the time will come when England would make a desperate struggle to get separated from India.'

Secondary works: 

Bax, Clifford (ed.), Florence Farr, Bernard Shaw and W. B. Yeats (Dublin: Cuala Press, 1941)

Dutt, Rajani Palme, George Bernard Shaw: A Memoir, and ‘The Dictatorship of the Proletariat’, the famous 1921 article by George Bernard Shaw (London: Labour Monthly, 1951)

Joad, C. E. M. (ed.), Shaw and Society (London: Odhams Press, 1953)

Lawrence, Dan H., Bernard Shaw: A Bibliography, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983)

Rao, Valli, ‘Seeking the Unknowable: Shaw in India’, Shaw 5, special issue, ‘Shaw Abroad’, ed. by Rodelle Weintraub (1985), pp. 181-209

Shah, Hiralal Amritlal, ‘Bernard Shaw in Bombay’, Shaw Bulletin 1.10 (November 1956), pp. 8-10


The extract shows Shaw’s admiration for Gandhi; Shaw makes an insightful comment on India’s position within the British Empire, and describes the caste system as analogous with the English class system.

Archive source: 

George Bernard Shaw Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

Fabian Society Archives and Bernard Shaw Collection, Archives Division, London School of Economics Library

Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Bernard F. Burgunder Collection of George Bernard Shaw, Department of Manuscripts and Archives, Cornell University Libraries, Ithaca, New York

1933-40 correspondence and papers related to ‘Political Science in America’ lecture, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries, New York

Manuscript Collections, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
02 Oct 1950
Location of death: 
Ayot Saint Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Apr 1876
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Shaw's Corner, Ayot Saint Lawrence, Hertfordshire

Louis MacNeice


Louis Frederick MacNeice was born in Belfast to John Frederick MacNeice and Elizabeth Margaret MacNeice. He was sent to preparatory school in Sherbourne, England, in 1917, then attended Marlborough College in 1921 and Merton College, Oxford, in 1926. At Oxford, he met writers W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender. In 1930, his final year at Oxford, he was awarded a first in literae humaniores, edited Oxford Poetry with Stephen Spender, and published his first book of poetry, Blind Fireworks.

He entered the literary circle of London, where he met Bonamy Dobrée, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Cecil Day Lewis and Mulk Raj Anand. He describes his first meeting with Anand thus: 'It was outside the British Museum that I met Mulk Raj Anand, a young Indian novelist. Mulk was small and lithe and very handsome, wore shirts, ties and scarves of scarlet or coral, talked very fast and all the time, was a crusader for the Indian Left' (The Strings Are False, p. 209). By 1940, war had broken out in Europe and MacNeice decided to leave for the United States where he remained until December that year. He was not fit for war service but joined the BBC in 1941. In wartime London, MacNeice still socialized with many of his literary friends from the 1930s: Cecil Day Lewis, Mulk Raj Anand and M. J. Tambimuttu. MacNeice also published many of his poems in Tambimuttu's journal Poetry London and was included in Tambimuttu's Poetry in Wartime (1942).

Upon Indian independence in 1947, MacNeice was sent to India to cover the event for the BBC. He and fellow companions, Francis Dillon and Wynford Vaughan Thomas, travelled through much of India and reported back to England on the celebrations as well as the horrors they witnessed.

In 1961, MacNeice gave up full-tme employment in the BBC to free up time for writing. In 1963, he became ill, and he died of viral pneumonia on 3 September.

Published works: 

Blind Fireworks (London: Victor Gollancz, 1929)

(with Stephen Spender) Oxford Poetry, 1929 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1929)

Roundabout Way (New York and London: Putnam, 1932)

Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1935)

(with W. H. Auden) Letters from Iceland (London: Faber & Faber, 1937)

Out of the Picture: A Play in Two Acts (London: Faber & Faber, 1937)

The Earth Compels: Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1938)

I Crossed the Minch (London: Longmans, 1938)

Modern Poetry: A Personal Essay (London: Oxford University Press, 1938)

Zoo (London: Michael Joseph, 1938)

Autumn Journal: A Poem (London: Faber & Faber, 1939)

The Last Ditch (Dublin: Cuala, 1940)

Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Plant and Phantom: Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1941)

The Poetry of W. B. Yeats (London: Oxford University Press, 1941)

Christopher Columbus: A Radio Play (London: Faber & Faber, 1944)

Springboard: Poems, 1941-1944 (London: Faber & Faber, 1944)

The Dark Tower, and Other Radio Scripts (London: Faber & Faber, 1947)

Holes in the Sky: Poems, 1944-1947 (London: Faber & Faber, 1948)

Collected Poems, 1925-1948 (London: Faber & Faber, 1949)

Ten Burnt Offerings (London: Faber & Faber, 1952)

Visitations (London: Faber & Faber, 1952)

Autumn Sequel: A Rhetorical Poem in XXVI Cantos (London: Faber & Faber, 1954)

The Other Wing (London: Faber & Faber, 1954)

The Sixpence That Rolled Away (London: Faber & Faber, 1956)

Eighty-Five Poems: Selected by the Author (London: Faber & Faber, 1959)

Solstices (London: Faber & Faber, 1961)

The Burning Perch (London: Faber & Faber, 1963)

Astrology (London: Aldus Books, 1964)

The Mad Islands, and The Administrator: Two Plays (London: Faber & Faber, 1964)

The Strings are False: An Unfinished Autobiography (London: Faber & Faber, 1965)

Varieties of Parable (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965)

(with E. R. Dodds) The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice (London: Faber & Faber, 1966)

One for the Grave: A Modern Morality Play (London: Faber & Faber, 1968)

Persons from Porlock, and Other Plays for Radio, with an Introduction by W. H. Auden (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1969)

The Revenant: A Song-Cycle for Hedli Anderson (Dublin: Cuala Press, 1975)

(with Alana Heuser and Peter MacDonald) Selected Plays of Louis MacNeice (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1993)

Date of birth: 
12 Sep 1907

Mulk Raj Anand, W. H. Auden (Oxford), Bonamy Dobree, T. S. Eliot (Criterion), Stephen Spender, M. J. Tambimuttu (Poetry London, Poetry in Wartime), Dylan Thomas (acted in MacNeice's plays).

Contributions to periodicals: 


New Verse

Poetry London

Secondary works: 

Anand, Mulk Raj, and Williams, Jane, 'Talking of Tambi: The Dilemma of the Asian Intellectual', in Jane Williams (ed.) Tambimuttu: Bridge Between Two Worlds (London: Peter Owen, 1989), pp. 191-201

Armitage, Christopher Mead, A Bibliography of the Works of Louis MacNeice (London: Kaye & Ward, 1973)

Brown, Richard Danson, Louis MacNeice and the Poetry of the 1930s (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2009)

Brown, Terence, Louis MacNeice: Sceptical Vision (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1975; New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1975)

Brown, Terence, and Reid, Alan, Time Was Away: The World of Louis MacNeice (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1974; London: Oxford University Press, 1974)

Coulton, Barbara, Louis MacNeice in the BBC (London: Faber & Faber, 1980)

David, D. M., 'MacNeice, (Frederick) Louis (1970-1963)', rev. by Jon Stallworthy, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Devine, Kathleen, and Peacock, Alan J., Louis MacNeice and His Influence (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1998)

Haffenden, John, William Empson, Vol 2: Against the Christians (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005-6)

Heuser, Alan, Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987)

Innes, C. L., A History of Black and Asian Writing in Britain, 1700-2000. 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Longley, Edna, Louis MacNeice: A Study (London: Faber & Faber, 1988)

MacKinnon, William Tulloch, Apollo's Blended Dream: A Study of the Poetry of Louis MacNeice (London: Oxford University Press, 1971)

Marsack, Robyn, The Cave of Making: The Poetry of Louis MacNeice (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982)

McDonald, Peter, Louis MacNeice: The Poet in His Contexts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991)

Moore, Donald Bert, The Poetry of Louis MacNeice (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1972)

O'Neill, Michael, Auden, MacNeice, Spender: The Thirties Poetry (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992)

Press, John, Louis MacNeice (London: Longmans, 1965)

Smith, Elton Edward, Louis MacNeice (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1970)

Stallworthy, Jon, Louis MacNeice (London: Faber & Faber, 1995)

Whitehead, John, A Commentary on the Poetry of W. H. Auden, C. Day Lewis, Louis MacNeice, and Stephen Spender (Lewiston, NY, and Lampeter: Mellen, 1992)

Wigginton, Chris, Modernism from the Margins: The 1930s Poetry of Louis MacNeice and Dylan Thomas (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007)

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to E. R. Dodds, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to parents from Sherbourne and Marlborough, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Literary Mss and Mss, Columbia University, New York

Mss, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters to Anthony Blunt, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Mss and correspondence, State University of New York

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Louis Frederick MacNeice

Date of death: 
03 Sep 1963
Location of death: 
St Leonard's Hospital, Shoreditch, London

S. M. Marath


S. M. Marath was born into an orthodox Nayar background in Trichur, at one time the capital of Cochin State. His ancestral home was Sri Padmanabha Mandiram in Tirunvambadi, Trichur. He combined a traditional South Indian background with a cosmopolitan education, studying for his BA in English at Madras Christian College and later, in 1934, enrolling at King’s College London. He went on to join the Indian Civil Service in London, working at India House after Independence in 1947. He married Nancy, an Irish woman, had two sons and settled permanently in Britain.

A Wound of Spring, his first novel, appeared in 1960 and is dedicated to his family. Prior to this, between 1934 and 1960, he published short stories, critical essays and reviews, and broadcast regularly with the BBC Home, Education and Eastern Service. Whilst Marath regularly reviewed Indian works in British periodicals – by Mulk Raj Anand, Bhabani Bhattacharya, Aubrey Menen, Jawaharlal Nehru and M. K. Gandhi, among others – he also wrote commentaries on British writers, French literature and religious philosophy. His published works are all set in Kerala, South India, close to his ancestral home. Written in English and drawing on a wide range of sources, they explore broad existential questions. In Janu, his last published novel, he addresses specific issues related to the Indo-British encounter which indirectly draws on his experience as an Indian living in Britain. He died in London in 2003.

Published works: 

The Wound of Spring (London: Dennis Dobson; Calcutta: Rupa & Co., 1960)

The Sale of an Island (London: Dennis Dobson; Calcutta: Rupa & Co., 1968)

Janu (1988)


Letter to Mohamed Elias, 23 October 1979, in Elias, Mohamed, Menon Marath (Macmillan India, 1981), p. 44

Date of birth: 
29 Oct 1906

Here Marath describes in a letter the impact of English on his life as a writer living in Britain.


Mulk Raj Anand, H. N. Brailsford, Robert Herring, N. Roy Lewis, Aubrey Menen, Krishna Menon, George Orwell, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Raja Rao, Rolfe Arnold Scott-James.

Buddhist Society, Pimlico; Indian High Commission; King’s College London.

Contributions to periodicals: 


The Hindu Illustrated Weekly

King’s College Review

Life and Letters Today

The London Mercury

The Listener

Times Literary Supplement


Asia and Africa Review

The Auckland Star

The Bookseller

Cork Examiner

Glasgow Herald

Hindustan Standard

London Evening News

New Statesman

Swaziland Times

Times Literary Supplement


Truth to say, English really has been my language always. The subtleties of English as a medium of communication captivated me right from the start. I never intended to write in any language but English. Perhaps I was one of those Indians who were mentally enslaved by our foreign rulers. I confess this with shame. The direct consequence of this was my coming to England. I think I had come here to be released from this enthralment.

Secondary works: 

Elias, Mohamed, Menon Marath, Kerala Writers in English (Macmillan India, 1981)

Harrex, S. C., The Fire and the Offering: The English Language Novel of India (Calcutta: Indian Writers Workshop, 1977)

Mukherjee, M., The Twice-Born Fiction: Themes and Techniques of the Indian Novel in English (Delhi: Heinemann, 1971)


Like many other Indian writers in English of his generation, Marath was aware from the outset of the difficulties of translating his experience of Kerala into English and finding an appropriate form to articulate this.

Archive source: 

S. Menon Marath Papers, Add. 73500, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 

India League meetings

Independence celebrations at India House, London

City of birth: 
Trichur, Cochin, Kerala
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Sankarankutty Menon Marath

Sam Menon Marath


Middlesex, TW11 8ES
United Kingdom
51° 25' 37.2324" N, 0° 20' 14.37" W
London, NW3 6NR
United Kingdom
51° 33' 20.1924" N, 0° 11' 36.7116" W
Date of death: 
02 Jan 2003
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1934
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 


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