Boltwood Scott (editor)
Renegotiating and Resisting Nationalism in 20th-Century Irish Drama

Renegotiating and Resisting Nationalism in 20th-Century Irish Drama


21.6 x 13.8 cm      xiv, 211 pp.  2009    Ulster Editions & Monographs series (ISSN 0954-3392)  volume 15

The essays in this collection seek to refine our understanding of the often polyvalent and conflicted engagement that Irish dramatists have entered into with nationalism, a cultural and political movement that they have often attempted to simultaneously resist and renegotiate.

These nine essays construct a genealogy of dissent, of loyal opposition, revealing the apprehension and dissatisfaction with which the twentieth century’s most influential playwrights have sometimes viewed the Irish state, from its emergence in the early 1900s to its maturity at the century’s end. The articles on W.B. Yeats, Augusta Gregory, J.M. Synge, and Sean O’Casey reveal the early Abbey Theatre’s struggle to critique the failures of and influence the development of the early state and its proscriptive brand of nationalist Irishness. The essays exploring the later plays of Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Anne Devlin, Christina Reid, Marie Jones, and Marina Carr expose both the conceptual and political failures of mainstream Irishness in the second half of the twentieth century to satisfy the material or political aspirations of people on either side of the Irish border. While many of this collection’s essays share a common postcolonial interpretive strategy, individual articles also employ the strategies of ecocriticism, social anthropology, structuralism, feminism, and nationalist theory. The fifteenth volume in the Ulster Editions and Monographs series


Scott Boltwood. Introduction

Colonialism and the Free State:
Hyangsoon Yi. The Traveller in Irish Drama and the Works of J.M.Synge and Seamus O’Kelly
Barbara Suess. Individualism and the Acceptance of Other: Yeats and Where There is Nothing
Scott Boltwood. ‘I keep silence for good or evil’: Lady Gregory’s Cloon plays and Home Rule
Paul Cantor. O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock and the Problematic Freedom of the Irish Free State

The Republic and the North
Paul Davies. Earthing the Void: Beckett, Bio-regionalism, and Eco-poetics
Shaun Richards. Brian Friel: Seizing the Moment of Flux – Ros Dixon. Chekhov Bogged Down? Tom Kilroy’s version of The Seagull
Susan Cannon Harris. Her Blood and Her Brother: Gender and Sacrifice in Frank McGuinness’s Carthaginians
Rebecca Pelan. Two’s Company, Three’s a Community: Women’s Drama from Northern Ireland
Maria-Elena Doyle. ‘What Sort of Monsters Must We Have Been’: Irishness and the Gothic in McDonagh, Carr and McPherson

Notes – Bibliography – Contributors – Index

Front cover illustration. The Irish Academy of Letters' Gregory Medal, designed by Maurice Lambert (1901-1964) who called it 'Aengus and the Birds', although Yeats preferred the title 'Inspiration'. About seventeen copies were cast in bronze in 1934, and the mould destroyed.  As originator of the project, W. B. Yeats was given one copy by Lambert. Yeats later presented one to Patrick McCartan, the major contributor to its cost, one was bought by the Royal Mint, and fifteen were for presentation by the Academy. These were lodged in a box in the Bank of Ireland, College Green. The actual recipients of the Medal were W. B. Yeats, George W. Russell ('AE'), and Bernard Shaw (all of whom were awarded it in 1935), Douglas Hyde (1937), E. Å’. Somerville (1941), Eoin MacNeill (1944), Stephen Gwynn (1949), Padraic Colum (1953), Seumas O'Sullivan (1957), Micheál mac Liammóir(1960), Austin Clarke (1968), Mary Lavin (1974), Arland Ussher (1975), and John Hewitt (1984). Yeats's intention was that once the medals had all been used, the Academy would commission a new design for future presentations of the Medal. The Academy unanimously agreed on 11 July 1974 that Peadar O'Donnell and Mary Lavin should both be awarded the Medal, but there is no record that O'Donnell ever received it. It is possible that he refused the honour. After Sean J. White removed the medal for Hewitt from the Academy's box at the Bank in 1984, he noted that only one remained. The Academy's archives are now in the National Library of Ireland (MSS 33,745-33,746).

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