Literature Research Guide: 19th Century Writers

This guide highlights resources available from the McClelland Library to anyone researching 19th Century Irish writers. The McClelland Library owns many titles about the various writers of the 19th Century and can be found by searching our catalog.  This list is not all encompassing, so please check our catalog for more titles.

*Note: Titles from the Rare Books and Special collection can be accessed by asking a librarian in advance of coming to the library. Contact to set up an appointment to view material(s).*

Chas Moore on Bloomsday

William Carleton (1794-1869)

Published Works:

William Carleton, The Authentic Voice

Call Number: REF 823.7 C193YB Publication Date: 2006

This volume contains contemporary portraits of Carleton with previously unpublished letters and documents and detailed maps of the countryside he loved and wrote about. The Authentic Voice provides ample evidence that Carleton was one of the greatest entertainers of Irish literature in English. 

The Works of William Carleton 

Call Number: Special FIC Carleton, W Publication Date: 1881

Three volume collection about Ireland, social life and customs. Volume 1: Willy Reilly; Fardorougha, the miser; The Black Baronet; The Evil Eye. Volume 2: Jane Sinclair; Lha dhu; The Dead Boxer; Ellen Duncan; The Proctor’s Daughter; Valentine McClutchy; The Tithe Proctor; The Emigrants of Ahadarra. Volume 3: Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry; The Black Prophet; Wild Goose Lodge; Tubber Derf; Neal Malone; Art Maguire. 


Poor Scholar: A Study of the Works and Days of William Carleton, 1794-1869 by Benedict Kiely

Call Number: BIO Carleton, W. Publication Date: 1947

A novelist and short story writer, Carleton shares his birthplace of County Tyrone with Benedict Kiely and Flann O’Brien.

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Lady Gregory (1852-1932)

Published Works:

Irish Myths and Legends

Call Number: 398.22094 G8621i Publication Date: 1998

Combines Gregory’s works Gods and Fighting Men and Cuchulain of Muirthemne. Gregory retells the myths and legends of the ancient Celts and reveals the roots of Ireland’s literary tradition. Contains an index of characters and a pronunciation key to Gaelic names and locations. 

Lady Gregory’s Complete Irish Mythology preface by W.B. Yeats

Call Number: REF 398.2 L128 Publication Date: 1996

The myths and legends of pre-Christian Ireland overflow with giants and heroes, maidens, battles and brave deeds. The Haunting Love of Diarmuid and Grania, The Epic War of the White Bull of Cuailgne, the World of Tir Nan Og, and Cuchulain and Finn Mac Cumhal are some of the unforgettable tales in this collection.

Select Writings

Call Number: 822.912 G8621s Publication Date: 1995

This collection contains selections of Lady Gregory’s writings on autobiography, Irish folklore and translations, Irish saga and romance, Irish culture, and her own plays, poems and journals. 


Lady Gregory: An Irish Life by Judith Hill

Call Number: REF BIO Gregory, Lady Publication Date: 2005

This newer biography of Lady Gregory removes her from the shadow of Yeats, and uncovers for the first time the full life of this key figure of the Irish Literary Revival. The author uses new archive material and an interview with Catherine Kennedy, Lady Gregory’s granddaughter. 

Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush by Colm Tóibín

Call Number: REF BIO Gregory, Lady Publication Date: 2002

Tóibín examines the contradictions that defined the position of this essential figure in Irish cultural history. Early in her writing, her politics regarding Ireland were unionist, yet she campaigned for Egypt’s freedom from colonial rule. Lady Gregory’s capacity to occupy mutually contradictory positions was essential to her heroic work as a founder and director of the Abbey Theatre.

James Joyce (1882-1941)

Published Works:


Call Number: FIC Joyce, James Publication Date: 1991

This collection of fifteen tales observes the lives of Dublin’s poorer classes. It is an accessible introduction to one of the 20th century’s most influential writers

Finnegans Wake

Call Number: FIC Joyce, James Publication Date: 1982

After two decades, Joyce’s final and most revolutionary work was published which includes some sixty languages. It is a story with no real beginning or end-it ends in the middle of a sentence and begins in the middle of the same sentence. It’s written in dream-like language, and features some of Joyce’s most humorous characters. 

Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

Call Number: FIC Joyce, James Publication Date: 1992

Semi-autobiographical novel of a young man, Stephen Dedalus, coming of age who realizes that before he can become a true artist, he must rid himself of the effects of his stifling environment in late 19th century Ireland. 


Call Number: FIC Joyce, James Publication Date: 1946

This is considered to be the greatest 20th century novel in the English language, and the most controversial. It is about a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, whose odyssey through the streets of Dublin leads him through trials that parallel those of Ulysses on his epic journey home. 


*The library has many books to help guide readers through Joyce’s writings.*



James Joyce by Richard Ellmann

Call Number: BIO Joyce, J Publication Date: 1959

Provides an intimate and detailed account of James Joyce’s life, which greatly informs an understanding of his complex works. 

James Joyce: A New Biography by Gordon Bowker

Call Number: BIO Joyce, J Publication Date: 2012

This revealing new biography is about one of the twentieth century’s literary greats, James Joyce. The author gives readers a fresh contribution to our understanding of Joyce’s personality and of the monumental opus he created. 

James Joyce: The Years of Growth, 1882-1915: A Biography by Peter Costello

Call Number: BIO Joyce, J Publication Date: 1992

The author sheds new light, while bringing James Joyce to life vividly. The theme of the biography is the theme of all of Joyce’s work: the transformation of raw life into art. 

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Why Should You Read James Joyce’s Ulysses

Bloomsday at the Irish Cultural Center & McClelland Library

Bloomsday is the annual World-Wide Celebration of the publishing of James Joyce’s most famous novel: Ulysses!

James Joyce Reading Finnegan’s Wake

Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

Published Works:

Lalla Rookh: an oriental romance

Call Number: RareBks 821.7 M7868L 1851 Publication date: 1851

Moore’s best selling epic poem is comparative to Arabian Nights in subject matter, setting and form. Princess Lalla Rookh is to marry the King of Bucharia, but she has never met him. Lalla Rookh inspired artists, dramatists and composers with its combination of drama, poetry, romance, pathos, fantasy, horror and exoticism. 

Moore’s Irish Melodies: The Illustrated 1846 Edition

Call Number: REF 821.7 M7868m 2000 Publication Date: 2000

Over 200 melodic gems from the man widely regarded as the national poet of Ireland. Includes “The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls,” “Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms” and more with original illustrations. 


Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence of Thomas Moore

Call Number: Rarebks BIO Moore, T. Publication Date: 1853

Throughout his professional life, Thomas Moore was variously celebrated and vilified for both his verse and his politics. This eight-volume collection of Moore’s memoirs, diaries and letters provides rare insight into the poet’s life.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Published Works:

George Bernard Shaw’s plays: Mrs Warren’s Profession, Pygmalion, Man and Superman, Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw; edited by Sandie Byrne

Call Number: 822.912 Sh262g 1970 Publication Date: 1970

This collection represents Shaw’s most important theater works. Each play includes an explanatory annotation and includes information about the author and his work.

An Unsocial Socialist
Call Number: FIC Shaw, B. Publication Date: 2012

Shaw presents for the first time his view of what the relationship between the sexes should be. This novel is an entertaining satire on social prejudice from a great author of the past.


Cheerio, Titan: The Friendship between George Bernard Shaw and Eileen and Sean O’Casey by Eileen O’Casey

Call Number: BIO Shaw, B. Publication Date: 1989

Eileen O’Casey shows readers for the first time the extent of their friendship and describes Shaw’s strong support of Sean O’Casey’s work. Letters including some previously unpublished are quoted from Shaw, O’Casey, Yeats and Lady Gregory. 

Shaw, George versus Bernard by J.P. Hackett

Call Number: BIO Shaw, B Publication Date: 1937

Chapters range from the Shaws coming to Ireland, growing up in Dublin in the 1860s, the trials of being a writer to his political and religious affiliations, and Shaw’s emotionally-driven thinking and his way with words. 

Bram Stoker (1847-1912)

Published Works:


Call Number: 823.8 St671d Publication Date: 1997

Since its first publication in 1897, the vampire who haunts the Transylvanian countryside has captivated audiences. In this edition a discussion of Stoker’s working notes for the novel and the original first chapter are included. A section called Reviews and Reactions reprints five early reviews of Dracula. And another section, Dramatic and Film Variations, focuses on the many film and theater adaptations. Also included are seven theoretical interpretations of this classic story.

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Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Published Works:

The Complete Illustrated Stories, Plays & Poems of Oscar Wilde

Call Number: 828.809 W644c Publication Date: 1986

Over 800 pages which includes The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Easter Day, The Dole of the King’s Daughter, and many more.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; introduction and notes by David Greenstein

Call Number: FIC Wilde, O Publication Date: 2012

Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait by Basil Hallward. After understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian sells his soul to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. 

Stories for Children

Call Number: FIC Wilde, O Children Publication Date: 2006

Oscar Wilde’s stories are much-loved classics and make a fantastic story collection. Titles included are The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Devoted Friend, The Happy Prince, The Remarkable Rocket, and The Young King. 


Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellmann

Call Number: BIO Wilde, O. 1988 Publication Date: 1988

This biography is sensitive to the tragic pattern of the story of a great subject: Oscar Wilde-psychologically and sexually complicated, enormously quotable, central to an alluring cultural world and someone whose life assumed an unbearably dramatic shape.

Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius by Barbara Belford

Call Number: BIO Wilde, O. Publication Date: 2000

The author breaks new ground in the evocation of Oscar Wilde’s personal life and in our understanding of the choices he made for his art. 

Oscar Wilde, His Life and Wit by Hesketh Pearson

Call Number: BIO Wilde, O. Publication Date: 1946

The remarkable and tragic story of Oscar Wilde, legendary wit and conversationalist, author of perhaps the most perfect comedy in the English language, yet seemingly doomed by his own flawed temperament to suffer at the hands of a censorious and hypocritical society.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Published Works:

The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore

Call Number: 398 Y34c Publication Date: 2004

Best known for his poetry, Yeats also had interest and wrote about Irish folklore. This book ventures into the eerie world of fairies, ghosts, and spirits. The stories are recounted tales from his friends. 

Selected Poems and Four Plays of William Butler Yeats by W.B. Yeats; edited by M.L. Rosenthal

Call Number: 821.8 Y34s 1996 Publication Date: 1996

Since its first appearance in 1962, M. L. Rosenthal’s classic selection of Yeats’s poems and plays has attracted hundreds of thousands of readers. This newly revised edition includes 211 poems and 4 plays.

The Tower: A Facsimile Edition by W.B. Yeats; introduction by Richard J. Finneran

Call Number: 821.8 Y34t Publication Date: 2004

This facsimile edition reproduces exactly that seminal first edition as it reached its earliest audience in 1928, adding an introduction and notes by esteemed Yeats scholar Richard J. Finneran. Written between 1912 and 1927, these poems (“Sailing to Byzantium,” “Leda and the Swan,” and “Among School Children” among them) are today considered some of the best and most famous in the entire Yeats canon.


W.B. Yeats: A Life by R.F. Foster

Call Number: BIO Yeats, W. Publication Date: 1997-2003

In the first authorized biography of W. B. Yeats in over fifty years, Foster sheds new light on one of the most complex and fascinating lives of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Working from a great archive of personal and contemporary material, he dramatically alters traditional perceptions to illuminate the poet’s family history, relationships, politics and art.

W.B. Yeats: A New Biography by A. Norman Jeffares

Call Number: REF BIO Yeats, W. 1989 Publication Date: 1989

This volume is a re-issue of the revised edition that was to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the poet’s death. Included is an account of Yeats’s life and work, together with a collection of letters, photography and poetry. 

Ella Young (1867-1956)

Published Works:

At the Gates of Dawn

Call Number: 818.52 Y849a Publication Date: 2011

This new collection of writings is a magical tribute to Young’s many gifts, and features some of the best of her poetry and mythical storytelling. Young gathered old tales that had been handed down for centuries to preserve the native stories. She devoted herself to Irish culture and taught classes in the language and the myths. 

Celtic Wonder-Tales retold by Ella Young

Call Number: 398.2 Y849c Children Publication Date: 1995

An enchanting compilation of fourteen folk stories of Celtic magic and myth. Includes “The Earth-Shapers,” “The Spear of Victory,” “The Cow of Plenty,” “The Great Battle,” and ten more tales.

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