Chosen and Introduced by Andrew Parkin
The fourth volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.
21.6 x 13.8 cm. 416 pp. 2009 2nd, enlarged edition
Contains: London Assurance, The Corsican Brothers, The Octoroon, The Colleen Bawn, The Shaughraun, Robert Emmet, bibliographical checklist. plus Boucicault's "'Canterin' Jack' - A Sketch from Life. How The Shaughraun was originated'.
Dion Boucicault was a prominent playwright and prolific adapter of foreign plays and novels. He is known and loved especially for his high melodrama. Extremely popular on the Victorian commercial theatre for over forty years, his plays today still provide enjoyment to all audiences Born in Dublin, he achieved his first West End success with London Assurance in 1841. His work frankly catered to contemporary taste and fell rapidly into neglect after his death in 1890, but his lively observation of humanity in many moods, and his unerring sense of what works on the stage, have led his plays in recent years to successful revivals in Dublin, Belfast, Chichester and London, perhaps the most notable being the National Theatre's production of The Shaughraun starring Stephen Rea in the title role.
The works chosen for this volume illuminate Boucicault's consummate craft as a writer for the theatre in the age of actor-managers and melodrama. They also remind us of that Irish verve, charm and adroitness which made him the most popular playwright of his generation on both sides of the Atlantic. Arguably the father of both the Irish and American drama, his characteristic plotting and taste for sensation suggest that another of his heirs was the early movie industry.
This volume includes the great success of Boucicault's youth, London Assurance, together with his preface to the first edition; his durable version of the melodrama The Corsican Brothers; the exciting American plantation play The Octoroon, with both its endings; and three of his Irish plays, The Colleen Bawn, Robert Emmet, and The Shaughraun, to which has now been added his article on Cantherin' Jack, his inspiration for that play's title role. A selected bibliographical checklist, dates of first performances and cast lists are given, as are the songs, music and a glossary for the Irish plays.
The present selection from Boucicault's vast opus is chosen and introduced by Andrew Parkin. Andrew Parkin is Professor Emeritus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Honorary Senior Tutor of Shaw College. An Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies and Adviser to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, he belongs to a number of other international scholarly organisations. A member of the Canadian Writers’ Union, he is also adviser to the Canadian Chinese Writers’ Association. Residing now in France, he is President of the Paris Decorative and Fine Arts Society. He publishes scholarly books, mainly on drama, as well as original poetry, and short fiction.
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