St John Greer Ervine Collection

St John Greer Ervine (1883-1971) was a dramatist, novelist,biographer and critic. He was born in Ballymacarrett, Belfast. Both of his parents were deaf mutes and his maternal grandmother had a great influence on his early life. She had a shop on the Albertbridge Road and it is here that he absorbed much to influence his later works. He is recognised as a keen observer of life in East Belfast protestant community. He worked initially in an insurance office in Belfast from the age of fourteen and three years later moved to London to take up a simialr position there. He was a great admirer of Shaw and became a member of the Fabian Society. He so impressed Yeats with his first play ("Mixed Marriage") that it was produced in the Abbey in 1911. He later became manager of the Abbey, but this was a shortlived and stormy relationship, not helped by his intense unionism at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916. He joined the Dublin Fusiliers and fought in World War I. He was badly wounded and had to have a leg amputated. After the war he moved to England, where he worked as a critic for the Morning Post asnd the Observer. Along with his plays he wrote two novels of note - "The Foolish Lovers", 1920 and "The Wayward Man", 1927. His other works are heavily imbued with a bias for all things northern and unionist. His work is not remembered best for its social realism or artisitc ability but more for its strong bias. He was also responsible for a hugh biography of Bernard Shaw.


The collection contains a typescript of Ervine's work on Bernard Shaw with handwriiten notes to same.

Physical characteristics

The Ervine Collection consists of 2 archival boxes. It contains the typescript of his work on Bernard Shaw and also that of "My Brother Tom"" a play in 3 acts (country comedy).

Description or Catalogue

Itemised hand list available for consultation


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Added by Libraries NI | Last updated on: 07 July 2020