Robert Wilson Lynd (1879 - 1949) was a British writer, an urbane literary essayist and strong Irish nationalist.
He was born and educated in Belfast, studying at Queen's University. His background was Protestant, his father being a Presbyterian Church Moderator.
He began as a journalist on The Northern Whig in Belfast. He moved to London in 1901, via Manchester, sharing accommodation with his friend the artist Paul Henry. Firstly he wrote drama criticism, for Today, edited by Jerome K. Jerome. He also wrote for the Daily News.
He settled in Hampstead, in Keats Grove next to the John Keats house. The Lynds were well known as literary hosts, in the group including J. B. Priestley. They were on good terms also with Hugh Walpole; Priestley, Walpole and Sylvia Lynd were founding committee members of the Book Society. Irish guests included James Joyce and James Stephens. On one occasion reported by Victor Gollancz, Joyce intoned Anna Livia Plurabelle to his own piano accompaniment.
He used the pseudonym Y.Y. (Ys, or wise, you see) in writing for the New Statesman. According to C. H. Rolph's Kingsley (1973), Lynd's weekly essay, which ran from 1913 to 1945, was 'irreplaceable'. In 1941 editor Kingsley Martin decided to alternate it with pieces by James Bridie on Ireland, but the experiment was not at all a success. Lynd died in 1949 and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.
He became a fluent Irish speaker, and Gaelic League member. As a Sinn Féin activist, he used the name Robiard Ó Flionn/Roibeard Ua Flionn.
He wrote for The Republic in its early days. He spoke at the funeral in 1916 of Irish Republican and Marxist James Connolly, whose works Labour in Ireland, Labour in Irish History and The Re-Conquest of Ireland he subsequently edited. He was also a loyal friend of Roger Casement.
He married the writer Sylvia Dryhurst, whom he met at Gaelic League meetings in London, in 1909. Their daughters Máire and Sigle became close friends of Isaiah Berlin. Sigle's son, born in 1941, is the artist Tim Wheeler .
Lynd was a long-serving literary editor at the News Chronicle. Himself a minor poet, and married to Sylvia Lynd who was widely published, his sympathies as shown in this selection were most largely with figures from the Irish literary revival, and the Georgian poets. The book was published by Methuen, who had produced a sequence of anthologies in the 1920s and 1930s; Lynd had introduced the very popular1924 selection by Algernon Methuen himself, called An Anthology of Modern Verse. Subsequently the firm had produced an anthology edited jointly by Cecil Day-Lewis and L. A. G. Strong. Poets included in Lynd's book were:
Lascelles Abercrombie - Martin Armstrong - W. H. Auden - Maurice Baring - Hilaire Belloc - Laurence Binyon - Edmund Blunden - Gordon Bottomley - Lilian Bowes Lyon - Robert Bridges - Rupert Brooke - Joseph Campbell - Roy Campbell - G. K. Chesterton - Richard Church - Austin Clarke - Padraic Colum - Frances Cornford - Margaret Cropper - Charles Dalmon - W. H. Davies - Edward Davison - C. Day Lewis - Walter de la Mare - Lord Alfred Douglas - John Drinkwater - Clifford Dyment - A. E. - T. S. Eliot - James Elroy Flecker - Viola Garvin - Monk Gibbon - Stella Gibbons - W. W. Gibson - Oliver Gogarty - Louis Golding - Gerald Gould - Bryan Guinness - George Rostrevor Hamilton - Thomas Hardy - Christopher Hassall - F. R. Higgins - Ralph Hodgson - Gerard Manley Hopkins - A. E. Housman - Aldous Huxley - Douglas Hyde - James Joyce - Frank Kendon - T. M. Kettle - Rudyard Kipling - D. H. Lawrence - Francis Ledwidge - Eiluned Lewis - F. L. Lucas - Sylvia Lynd - Thomas MacDonagh - Louis Macneice - John Masefield - Charlotte Mew - Alice Meynell - Alice Milligan - Harold Monro - T. Sturge Moore - Sir Henry Newbolt - Robert Nichols - Alfred Noyes - Frank O'Connor - Moira O'Neill - Seumas O'Sullivan - Wilfred Owen - Herbert Palmer - Padraic H. Pearse - Ruth Pitter - Hugh Gordon Porteus - Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch - Herbert Read - Ernest Rhys - Richard Rowley - V. Sackville-West - Siegfried Sassoon - Edward Shanks - Fredegond Shove - Edith Sitwell - Stanley Snaith - Charles H. Sorley - Stephen Spender - Sir John Squire - William Force Stead - James Stephens - L. A. G. Strong - Dylan Thomas - Edward Thomas - Edward Thompson - Herbert Trench - W. J. Turner - Katharine Tynan - Sir William Watson - Dorothy Wellesley - Evelyn Underhill - Sir Robert Vansittart - Sylvia Townsend Warner - Charles Williams - Humbert Wolfe - W. B. Yeats - Andrew Young - Francis Brett Young