James Henry Cousins (22/07/1873 — 20/02/1956) was an Irish writer, playwright, actor, critic, editor, teacher and poet. He used several pseudonyms, including Mac Oisin and the Hindu name — Jayaram.
He was born in Belfast, Ireland, the descendant of Huguenot refugees. He was largely self-educated at night schools, and after working sometimes as a clerk, became private secretary and speech-writer to Sir Daniel Dixon, 1st Baronet, the Lord Mayor of Belfast. In 1897, he moved to Dublin, where he became a part of a literary circle which included William Butler, Yeats, George William Russell and James Joyce. He is believed to have served as a model for the Little Chandler character in Joyce’s short story collection —– DUBLINERS. Cousins was significantly influenced by Russell’s ability to reconcile MYSTICISM with a PREGMATIC APPROACH to social reforms and the teachings of Madame Blavatsky. He had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and acted as reporter in several experiments carried out by Fletcher Barrette, Professor of Physics at Dublin University and one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research.
Cousins produced several books of poetry whilst in Ireland and as well as acting in the 1st production of Cathleen Ni Houlihan, with the famous Irish revolutionary and beauty —– Maud Gonne in the title role. His plays were produced in the 1st years of the 19th century in the Abbey Theatre, the most famous being THE RACING LUG. However, after a dispute with Yeats, who objected to “too mush Cousins”, the Irish National Movement split with two-thirds of the actors and writers siding with Cousins against Yeats.
He wrote, widely, on the subject of THEOSOPHY and in 1915 Cousins travelled to India, with the voyage fees paid for by Annie Besant, the President of the Theosophical Society. He spent most of the rest of his life in the sub-continent, apart from a year as Professor of English Literature at Keio University in Tokyo and another lecturing in New York. Towards the end of his life, he converted to Hinduism and took the name —Jayaram. At the core of Cousins’ engagement with Indian culture, was a firm belief in the “shared sensibilities between Celtic and Oriental peoples.”
In India, he became friendly with many key Indian personalities, including Rabindranath Tagore, Indian classical dancer —- Rukmini Devi Arundale, painter — Abdur Rehman Chugtai and Mahatma Gandhi. He was the person who brought change into the life of poetry of the great renowned Kannada Poet and Writer —– Kuvempu.