The Theatre of Nation: Irish Drama and Cultural Nationalism 1890-1916

Overview

What role did the theatre of the Irish literary revival play in the politics of identity so avidly debated in pre-revolutionary Ireland? Conversely, how far did that debate influence the development of the theatre? Ben Levitas pursues such vexed questions through a panoramic study of Irish drama and the nationalist debate 1890-1916. He follow the unfolding drama of that relationship and, in giving equal weight to the protagonists inside and outside the theatre movement, provides fresh insight into the dynamics of...

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Overview

What role did the theatre of the Irish literary revival play in the politics of identity so avidly debated in pre-revolutionary Ireland? Conversely, how far did that debate influence the development of the theatre? Ben Levitas pursues such vexed questions through a panoramic study of Irish drama and the nationalist debate 1890-1916. He follow the unfolding drama of that relationship and, in giving equal weight to the protagonists inside and outside the theatre movement, provides fresh insight into the dynamics of Irish cultural politics. Extending the range of the drama beyond the canonical works considered by most critics, and beyond Dublin to the influence of Cork and Ulster, The Theatre of Nation tackles many neglected and forgotten texts which through the circumstances of their reception are given new force.
In this way, the lesser lights of the Irish revival illuminate unfamiliar aspects of familiar writers such as W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and J. M. Synge, while discussions and disputes both private and public are engaged to comment upon the implications of the theatre movement for nationalist ambitions. The evolution of cultural and political nationalist groups such as Irish Ireland, the Gaelic League and Sinn Fein is similarly examined to reveal a shifting terrain of nationalist opinion disturbed by issued of class, gender, and generation. An integrated investigation of the politics of drama and its influence in Ireland, The Theatre of Nation concludes that Ireland's theatre had a pivotal role to play in the controversies of its time and in the coming revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Subtly argued and impressively researched.... A central contribution."—Irish Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199253432
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/13/2003
  • Series: Oxford Historical Monographs Series
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The quintessence of Parnellism: the search for an Irish theatre, 1890-1897
3. 'A mesh of error': politics and drama, 1898-1902
4. The union of sceptics, 1903-1906
5. The room of mirrors: the debut of The Playboy of the Western World
6. 'The loy in Irish politics': plays peasant and unpeasant, 1907-1909
7. Ghosts and spectres: theatre of war, 1910-1916
8. Conclusion: Mahon and the echo

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