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Russell, George William (AE)

(1867-1935). Better known by his pseudonym Æ. Irish poet and painter who was a student of Helena P. Blavatsky. Russell was born at Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland on April 10, 1867. He was educated at Rathmines School and attended Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, where he met W. B. Yeats, a major Irish poet. Russell joined the Theosophical Society (TS) in 1887 and was a pupil of Blavatsky at Dublin in 1888. As a painter and poet Russell led the Celtic revival in Ireland. He was a lifelong student of theosophy and mysticism and claimed to see visions which inspired much of his poetry. In 1895 he followed the group headed by William Q. Judge that left the Adyar-based TS, but did not continue the association with that group after Judge’s death, electing to form the Hermetic Society.

Russell was a political activist who threw himself wholeheartedly into Irish freedom movements, editing The Irish Statesman in 1923-30. Many of Russell’s poems are of a mystical nature reflecting his theosophical beliefs. He died July 17, 1935.

Verse publications include; Homeward: Songs by the Way (1894); Collected Poems (1913); Collected Poems, 2nd edition (1926); Selected Poems (1935).


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