Selected Plays of Rutherford Mayne

Selected Plays of Rutherford Mayne

Series: Irish Drama Selections, Book 13
Genres: Drama, Literary Criticism
Tag: Selected Plays of Rutherford Mayne
Publication Year: 2000 
Length: xxviii, 256 pp. 
ISBN: 9780861402939

Chosen and Introduced by Wolfgang Zach

The thirteenth volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.

Paperback ISBN: 0-86140-293-6 / 978-0-86140-293-9 £8.95

21.6 x 13.8 cm

Contains: The Turn of the Road, The Drone, Red Turf, The Troth, Phantoms, Bridgehead and Peter, bibliographical checklist.
Note. Although the two articles ‘The Ulster Literary Theatre’ and ‘Meet Rutherford Mayne’ were announced as being part of this volume they were, for reasons the publisher is unable to explain, omitted from the published book. They can now be read  HERE

Samuel John Waddell (1878-1967), who took on the stage-name Rutherford Mayne when he embarked on a theatrical career, was the most prolific, versatile, and successful playwright that the Irish Literary Revival in Ulster brought forth. In the course of his career as a dramatist, from 1906 to 1934, he wrote thirteen plays – ten plays for the Ulster Literary Theatre, one for the Dublin-based Theatre of Ireland, and two for the Abbey Theatre. Especially his early realistic Ulster 'peasant plays' were very successful, among them The Drone (1908), the most popular Irish folk comedy of the first half of the twentieth century. He also acted a great number of main parts in plays of his own and of other writers, to great acclaim, mainly in Belfast and Dublin but also on tours to England and Scotland, from 1904 onwards until late in his life. His plays disappeared from the stage in the 1950s and when he died at the age of 89, in 1967, his artistic achievements were almost forgotten.

In this selection of Rutherford Mayne's plays, seven of his eight published plays – his most important ones – have been included, The Turn of the Road, The Drone , The Troth, Red Turf, Phantoms, Peter and Bridge Head. Two important prose pieces (one of Mayne's essays and an interview), have been added to the plays as they provide direct insight into his personality, views, and career.

Wolfgang Zach’s introduction shows why the plays should be remembered today, providing a lengthy survey of Mayne's life and works, with particular emphasis on a discussion of all his plays, their critical reception, stage history, and specific features.


Wolfgang Zach was Professor of English (Chair) at the University of Innsbruck and Head of its English Department. Before his appointment to this present position in 1994/95, he taught at the University of Graz and also was a Visiting Professor at a great number of universities in each continent. From his Ph.D. thesis on Oliver Goldsmith (1969) onwards he has published widely in the field of Irish literature and was a Vice-President of IASIL (the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures). He hosted an IASIL-Conference and edited its proceedings (with H. Kosok) on Literary Interrelations. Ireland, England and the World, 3 vols. (Tubingen: Narr, 1987), his most recent volume (ed. with R. Freiburg and A. Löffler) is on Swift: The Enigmatic Dean (Tübingen:Stauffenburg, 1998), and for many years he has been active as European Continental Editor of the Irish Literary Supplement.


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