Series: Irish Dramatic Texts
The Well of the Saints

The Well of the Saints

£12.50
Author:
Series: Irish Dramatic Texts, Book 1
Genre: Drama
Tag: Well of the Saints
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Nicholas Grene

J.M. Synge’s The Well of the Saints, to some extent overshadowed by his better-known plays Riders to the Sea and The Playboy of the Western World, well deserves an individual edition. A rich and complex tragicomic study of the conflict between imagination and reality, The Well centers on an old, blind couple, disillusioned by a miraculous cure, who finally prefer blindness to sight.

Nicholas Grene’s full introduction provides the historical background to the play and the reasons its first audiences, at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, received it with a hostility prefiguring the Playboy riots a few years later. He shows how Synge embeds his parable-like story in the reality of the Irish countryside, and how the theme of the play is developed through a skilful dramatic control of audience response. The Well of the Saints, with its striking affinities to Beckett, can thus be recognized as a play before its time.

The play is fully annotated, with an explanatory note on the language and a glossary for those unfamiliar with Synge’s poetic-peasant dialect. And with access (denied previous editors) to the Abbey Theatre prompt-book in which Synge made important theatrical alterations, Prof. Grene has been able to supply an edition with new textual authority.

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The Unicorn from the Stars

The Unicorn from the Stars

£19.50
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Katharine B. Worth

First published in 1903, Where There Is Nothing was never reprinted in the author’s lifetime. It lost its place in collected editions of Yeats’s plays to a new version, The Unicorn from the Stars, in which Lady Gregory had a major share. There has long been a need for an edition of Where There Is Nothing to restore to general view an interesting play which, unusually for Yeats, has a modern setting, a middle-class hero, and a predominantly naturalistic technique.

Yeats gave various reasons for abandoning the original play. Perhaps one he did not mention was his doubt whether its open and direct style and modem Irish background might not identify the author too closely with the visionary central character, Paul Ruttledge. Many of Yeats’s deepest preoccupations are reflected in Paul’s pursuit of his apocalyptic vision: he abandons a life of bourgeois comfort for hard freedom among the tinkers, follows a religious life in a monastery, and finally dies a martyr at the hands of a mob who cannot understand his ecstatic message: “Where there is nothing, there is God.”

The drastically revised version, The Unicorn from the Stars, changes the period and social milieu and introduces new characters and plot complications which bear the marks of Lady Gregory’s distinctive style. Both plays are included in this volume to allow comparison of the plays themselves and to throw light on the characteristic methods of these two preeminent playwrights.

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Where There is Nothing

Where There is Nothing

£19.50
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Katharine B. Worth

First published in 1903, Where There Is Nothing was never reprinted in the author’s lifetime. It lost its place in collected editions of Yeats’s plays to a new version, The Unicorn from the Stars, in which Lady Gregory had a major share. There has long been a need for an edition of Where There Is Nothing to restore to general view an interesting play which, unusually for Yeats, has a modern setting, a middle-class hero, and a predominantly naturalistic technique.

Yeats gave various reasons for abandoning the original play. Perhaps one he did not mention was his doubt whether its open and direct style and modem Irish background might not identify the author too closely with the visionary central character, Paul Ruttledge. Many of Yeats’s deepest preoccupations are reflected in Paul’s pursuit of his apocalyptic vision: he abandons a life of bourgeois comfort for hard freedom among the tinkers, follows a religious life in a monastery, and finally dies a martyr at the hands of a mob who cannot understand his ecstatic message: “Where there is nothing, there is God.”

The drastically revised version, The Unicorn from the Stars, changes the period and social milieu and introduces new characters and plot complications which bear the marks of Lady Gregory’s distinctive style. Both plays are included in this volume to allow comparison of the plays themselves and to throw light on the characteristic methods of these two preeminent playwrights.

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Cock-A-Doodle Dandy

Cock-A-Doodle Dandy

£18.75
Author:
Series: Irish Dramatic Texts, Book 5
Genre: Drama
Tag: Cock-A-Doodle Dandy
Edited, with an introduction and Notes, by David Krause

ISBN: 978-0-86140-342-4
21.6 x 13.8 cm.        xxiv, 119 pp.     1991            Irish Dramatic Texts 5

Regarded by O'Casey as his best play, this dark comedy about Irish rural life at mid-century symbolises the struggle between repression and liberty. Although the final victory is to the forces of oppression (in the shape of Father Domineer and his gombeen men) the play is highly amusing. Initially it was regarded as anti-Catholic and suppressed in Ireland and New York. This publication is the only definitive edition available, having been compared with the original manuscript (in the New York Public Library). Professor Krause is the official biographer of O'Casey.

Co-published with the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C.   More info →
The Herne’s Egg

The Herne’s Egg

£17.50
Author:
Series: Irish Dramatic Texts, Book 6
Genre: Drama
Tag: Herne's Egg
Edited, with an introduction and notes, by Andrew Parkin.

This play has long been attacked as repugnant in subject – for example, the brutal gang rape of a woman by seven men – and confused in tone. Yet despite its bloodshed, murder, rape, and suicide, Yeats still imbues the play with farcical, ironic humour, and compared to his last two plays, Purgatory (1939) and The Death of Cuchulain (1939), this tragic farce is the lightest in mood and tone.

Professor Parkin draws on the clash of values – between Christian and Pagan – and maintains that this central theme justifies the violence, sacrilege, sensuality and ferocious energy. Yeats imbues the play with farcical and ironic humour and his action is never tasteless or merely sensational. The Herne's Egg is an exuberant and crucial landmark in Yeatsian drama.

This, the first critical edition, will be of very real interest to the modern reader or actor. More info →

The Old Lady Says ‘No!’

The Old Lady Says ‘No!’

£19.50
Author:
Series: Irish Dramatic Texts, Book 7
Genre: Drama
Tag: Old Lady Says 'No!'
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Christine St Peter

ISBN: 978-0-86140-357-8
21.6 x 13.8 cm.   xiv, 140 pp.   1992
This definitive edition is based on Johnston's final 1977 version published in the Dramatic Works, the product of fifty years of revisions, and situates the play in its historical, theatrical, and biographical contexts. It is the first edition to have reference to all private and archival materials and to have had the assistance of the playwright in the preparation of its critical apparatus, which includes comprehensive annotations and analyses of all substantive changes in the multiple manuscripts. It will be of enduring interest to scholars specializing in Irish and European theatre history, as well as to students of Anglo-Irish literature and theatre directors.

Co-published with the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C.

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