Chosen and Introduced by Mary Shine Thompson
The fourteenth volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.
21.6 x 13.8 cm.
Contains: The Son of Learning, The Flame, Black Fast, The Kiss, As the Crow Flies, The Viscount of Blarney, The Second Kiss, Liberty Lane,and the hitherto unpublished The Frenzy of Sweeney and St Patrick’s Purgatory (a translation of Calderón’s play), ‘Verse Speaking’, ‘Verse Speaking and Verse Drama’, and a bibliographical checklist.
Austin Clarke (1896-1974) is known as a poet, a playwright, a broadcaster and a novelist. In the later part of his life his work became better known principally through the support given by Liam Miller and the Dolmen Press in publishing his Collected Plays (1963) and later single plays, and volumes of poems, culminating in his Collected Poems (1974). His work as a reviewer was ceaseless, and during his life he wrote over 1,500 reviews, assessing over 5,000 books, but it must be as one of twentieth century Ireland’s most important poets that he is best known.
Clarke’s plays are less well known, both perhaps because they are verse plays, and also because they have been out of print for so many years, so the publication of a selection was long overdue.
Mary Shine Thompson is a lecturer in the English Department of St Patrick's College Drumcondra (Dublin City University) and College Coordinator of Research. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled 'Austin Clarke; A Literary Life-Chronology'. She was commissioned to prepare the National Library of Ireland's Catalogue of its Austin Clarke holdings, completed in 2003. Among her publications are Studies in Children Literature 1500-2000 (Four Courts Press, 2004) and Treasure Islands, Real And Imagined, in Children's Literature (2005), both edited with C. Keenan.
Please note. Due to changes in sale patterns since the series was started we have not issued this work in paperback. ISBN 0-86140-209-X is cancelled.
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Edited by Gregory A. Schirmer
21.6 x 13.8 cm. Irish Literary Studies series (ISSN 0140-895X) volume 40
Austin Clarke is widely regarded as one of 20th-century Ireland's most important poets. In this selection of nearly fifty essays and reviews written over Clarke's long career, he demonstrates that he is an astute and provocative literary critic as well.
Having grown up in Dublin when the excitement of the Irish Literary Revival was still running high, Clarke knew many of the principal figures of that movement personally, and his readings of Yeats, Joyce, Synge, O'Casey, Lady Gregory, George Moore, and others, enjoy the advantages of an insider's point of view. Moreover, committed in his own poetry to the basic assumption that fuelled the Literary Revival – that the most productive course for Irish literature lay in the direction not of England but of Ireland – Clarke in his criticism provides a way of understanding, and judging, the Revival's major writers in terms of their relationships to Ireland's rich literary and cultural traditions. At the same time, these essays call attention to a number of distinctly Irish, but often overlooked, writers working on the margins of the revival.
As Yeats observed more than once, the Irish, for all the contributions that they have made to modern fiction, poetry, and drama, have fallen somewhat short in the genre of literary criticism. Austin Clarke's essays and reviews, many of which were written under a pseudonym and so not attributed to Clarke for years, go a long way towards filling that gap.
A selection of Clarke's writings on Yeats is followed by one on other Irish writers and the Irish Literary Revival, and on Modern English and American literature. Included as an appendix is an exhaustive list of Clarke's literary criticism, mostly in periodicals, including over 400 anonymous reviews written for the Times Literary Supplement.
Gregory A.Schirmer is the author of The Poetry of Austin Clarke and William Trevor: A Study of His Fiction, and has written widely on a variety of other modern Irish writers. He is Professor of English at the University of Mississippi.