Boyd, Ernest Augustus (1887–1946), writer, journalist, and literary critic, was born 28 June 1887 at Westbury Terrace, Dublin, the son of James Robert Boyd, a civil servant, and Rose Boyd (née Kempston). Educated privately by a French tutor and later at schools in Germany and Switzerland, he completed his education with a thorough grounding in European languages and literature. After a period on the staff of the Irish Times (1910–13) he joined the British consular service in 1913. His first posting was as vice-consul to Baltimore, Maryland, where he became friendly with H. L. Mencken, about whom he later wrote a book; he was transferred to Barcelona in 1916 and Copenhagen in 1919. His nationalism left him open to suspicion from his superiors, who wrongly believed him to be pro-Sinn Féin.
A contributor to the Irish Review, Irish Monthly, and Revue de Paris, he was also a literary adviser to the Talbot Press, and was responsible for the firm's publishing flair in the period 1917–20. His reputation as a literary critic was established with the publication of Ireland's literary renaissance (1916), a revised edition of which appeared in 1922; the first comprehensive account of the literary revival, it remains a standard work. He followed it with The contemporary drama in Ireland (1917), in which he traced the early history of the Abbey Theatre and the Ulster Movement. In 1920 he was appointed Dublin correspondent to The Athenaeum. Though best remembered as an analyst of the literary revival, he was also a participant in the movement. He turned his hand to drama with his satires ‘The glittering fake’ and ‘The worked-out ward’ (both 1918), and in that year also, as ‘Gnathaí Gan Iarraidh’, published a political tract, The sacred egotism of Sinn Féin. He also wrote ‘The ballad of George Moore’, was a contributor to Susan Mitchell's (qv) satirical collections, and wrote the introduction to the Selected essays and passages (1918) of Standish James O'Grady (qv). His later dramatic efforts consisted of two comedies, ‘After the fireworks’ (1932), on which he collaborated with Madeline Davidson, and ‘The pretty lady’ (1933).
Having resigned from the consular service, he settled in New York in 1920 and worked on the editorial staff of the New York Evening Post (1920–22), after which he became adviser on foreign literature to the publishers Alfred A. Knopf and Blanche Knopf. He also wrote for the Literary Review, read plays for the Theatre Guild (NY), and translated literature from both French and German. On returning to journalism in 1925 he was appointed literary editor of The Independent (NY) and remained with the paper until 1928. He was later editor of the New Freeman (1931–2) and the American Spectator (1932–7). His satirical portraits of literary America, which appeared in the early editions of the America Mercury, were reprinted, alongside his reminiscences of W. B. Yeats (qv), George Moore (qv), James Stephens (qv), George Russell (qv), and others, in Portraits, real and imaginary (1924). Among his other publications are the Collected novels and stories of Guy de Maupassant (18 vols, 1922), Studies in ten literatures (1925), and Literary blasphemies (1928). In 1913 he married the translator Madeline Elsie Reynier, a Paris-born literary agent, from whom he was later divorced. He died 30 December 1946 in New York.