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Michael Davitt
From the "Gaelic American"

John Devoy (author)
Carla King (author)
W.J. Mc Cormack (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
13th February 2008

Author Biography

John Devoy (1842-1928) was born near Kill, County Kildare. He became an active Fenian and after imprisonment was exiled to America. During his time there Devoy became a journalist for the New York Herald, and later editor of the Gaelic American. He then went on to become a leading figure of Clan na Gael, becoming its President in 1874. Carla King is a lecturer in Modern History at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin. W. J. Mc Cormack is Keeper of the Edward Worth Library (1733) at Dr Steevens's Hospital, Dublin, and former Professor of Literary History at Goldsmiths, University of London.


"Michael Davitt: From the Gaelic American" tells the story of a collaboration between two giants of late nineteenth-century Irish nationalism: John Devoy and Michael Davitt, in the formulation of the New Departure and the early emergence of the land agitation. Devoy (1842-1928), a Fenian who assisted James Stephens in his escape from Richmond prison, only later to be imprisoned himself for administering the Fenian oath, was to spend most of his adult life in exile in the United States. He was a leading figure in Clan na Gael and a journalist for the "New York Herald" and later edited the "Gaelic American", in which this account of Davitt was serialised. Michael Davitt (1846-1906), once a major figure in the Irish Republican Brotherhood went on to found the Irish National Land League. Although both men shared similar hopes for the Irish nation their methods and approaches were to diverge, and they fell out in 1882. This memoir is particularly informative for the period between 1878 and 1880, when the New Departure was initiated. However, Devoy asserts that Davitt remained more loyal to the Fenian ideals than most of his contemporaries recognised.