Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Katharine Tynan (23 January 1861 – 2 April 1931)


Katharine Tynan was an Irish-born writer, known mainly for her novels and poetry. After her marriage in 1898 to the writer and barrister Henry Albert Hinkson (1865–1919) she usually wrote under the name Katharine Tynan Hinkson (or Katharine Tynan-Hinkson or Katharine Hinkson-Tynan). Of their three children, Pamela Hinkson (1900-1982) was also known as a writer.

Tynan was born into a large farming family in Clondalkin, County Dublin, and educated at a convent school in Drogheda. Her poems were first published in 1878. She met and became friendly with the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1886. Tynan went on to play a major part in Dublin literary circles, until she married and moved to England; later she lived at Claremorris, County Mayo when her husband was a magistrate there from 1914 until 1919.

For a while, Tynan was a close associate of William Butler Yeats (who may have proposed marriage and been rejected, around 1885), and later a correspondent of Francis Ledwidge. She is said to have written over 100 novels. Her Collected Poems appeared in 1930. She also wrote five autobiographical volumes.

Tynan produced a great deal of writing during her career. It is reported that she was capable of delivering one novel per month! Apart from two anthologies, sixteen other collections of poetry, five plays, seven books of devotion, and one book about her dogs, she wrote over 105 popular novels, twelve collections of short stories, and innumerable newspaper articles. Her work was marked by an unusual blend of Catholicism and feminism, but was always drawn from real life.

Tynan suffered from bouts of depression throughout her life, but particularly after the sudden death of her husband in 1919. However, she kept writing, especially poetry, up until her death in London in 1931.


Tynan died in Wimbledon, London, in 1931 at the age of 70.

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