21.6 x 13.8 cm. xx, 267 pp. 1883 Ulster Editions and Monoographs Series (ISSN 0954-3392) volume 4
The reception of Brian Friel's recent Dancing at Lughnasa confirmed his status as Ireland's leading dramatist. The body of work that he produced is outstanding in its breadth of sympathy and interest, its dramaturgical invention and its wide cultural and intellectual purview. At one level, it may be seen as a continuous examination of Irish culture and politics, committed and analytical, but not sectionally propagandist.
His outlook in his drama, however, was not amenable to simplistic categorization, political or otherwise. As this volume demonstrates, linguistically, allusively, and in terms of its broad transcultural analogising, he work ranges widely. He utilised ideas and terminologies drawn from various cultural sources and academic disciplines in a way that exemplified his central, insistent concern with the phenomenon of language and its implications.
As an Irish dramatist, however, he made Irish social, political and, notably, family life his focus and built upon a recognised tradition of twentieth century Irish play-writing.
This book addresses the variety and complexity of Friel's drama by bringing to bear a range of academic and other professional and creative approaches in order to highlight particular aspects of his work and thought. Hence, contributors include a playwright, poet, theatre-producer, historian and various specialists in relevant literatures. In this way, the book suggests the intellectual richness, humanity, and protean skill and invention of the work.
Among the contributors are John Cronin, Neil Corcoran, Desmond Maxwell, Christopher Murray, Thomas Kilroy, Seamus Deane, Robert Welch, Sean Connolly, Joe Dowling, Terence Brown, Fintan O'Toole and Seamus Heaney.