Fathers and Sons at the Abbey Theatre (1904-1938): A New Perspective on the Study of Irish Drama

Fathers and Sons at the Abbey Theatre (1904-1938): A New Perspective on the Study of Irish Drama

by Fabio Luppi

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Overview

Fathers and Sons at the Abbey Theatre demonstrates how the literary archetype of the clash between fathers and sons and the subsequent depiction of anti-oedipal figures become a major concern for the playwrights writing in a specific and crucial moment of Irish history (1904-1938). The father can be conceived both as a historical / political metaphor as well as a real father in a specific historical and social context. The classical models employed as theoretical tools to nuance the argument--Laius and Oedipus, Ulysses and Telemachus, Aeneas and Anchises, Priam and Hector, Hector and Astyanax--are challenged by the Christian example of Abraham and Isaac, subversively adjusted by Yeats to provide a tragic reading of post-colonial Ireland. All of these pairings provide archetypes for the understanding of complex personal and familial dynamics.



The book takes into consideration not only the most famous figures of the Irish National Theatre--as W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Augusta Gregory, and Sean O?Casey?but also overlooked authors such as T.C. Murray, Padraic Colum, Paul Vincent Carroll, Lennox Robinson, Denis Johnston, George Shiels, St. John Ervine, Teresa Deevy. Many commentators have written about the playwrights of the Abbey Theatre, mainly focusing on politics, social classes, Irish identity, cultural issues, and linguistic aspects: no thorough analysis of the clash between generations has been published so far. Those who have tackled the issue have devoted their attention to a single author, or to a single aspect; this study aims to demonstrate that the repeated occurrence of anti-oedipal figures and of the archetype of the clash between fathers and sons?a clear manifestation of the need of emancipation from oppressive authorities and of change in Irish society?must be read as a common phenomenon and as a shared concern. The book is written for people interested in Irish studies, post-colonial studies, and theatre studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781627346979
Publisher: Universal-Publishers.com
Publication date: 03/01/2018
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

Fabio Luppi. Adjunct professor at Universita degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi. Obtained a Phd in Comparative Literature at Universita Roma Tre (2008). Gained a short term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library (2014). Author of the book, Cerimonie e artifici nel teatro di W.B. Yeats (NEU 2011), co-edited Agostino Lombardo's Cronache e critiche teatrali 1971-1977 (Bulzoni 2007), Barbara Arnett Melchiori's Shakespeariana (Bulzoni 2016) and an issue of Joyce Studies in Italy (The Difference of Joyce, Edizioni Q, 2015). Published articles on Irish, British, and Italian writers, such as Joyce, Yeats, Banville, Keats, Shakespeare, Pirandello, Montale, Manganelli. His main fields of interest are Irish studies, post-colonial studies and Jacobean theatre.

Table of Contents

Preface by Christopher Murray vii

Acknowledgements xi

Introduction xiii

1 Establishing the Contexts 1

1.1 Paternal figures: paradoxes, antinomies, dichotomies,

and contradictions 5

1.2 The Abbey Theatre: a mirror up to family life and Irish society 15

1.3 Family bonds and blood ties 30

2 The (dys-) Function of the Father 45

2.1 Authoritarian fathers (les nons du père) 45

2.2 Two mothers for an absent father 52

3 Key Readings: From Oedipus to Telemachus 65

3.1 Oedipus/Laius: the killing of the father 66

3.2 Anti-Oedipus, or Isaac/Abraham: killing or sacrificing the son? 71

3.3 Hector/Astyanax and Aeneas/Ascanius/Anchises: the fair father and three generations of inherited virtue and family integrity 81

3.4 Telemachus/Ulysses: the rightful son 84

3.5 Emigration: from Telemachus to Aeneas 90

4 Substitutes: The Psychic Function of the Father 103

4.1 Priests 104

4.2 Schoolmasters and education 115

4.3 Sport and leisure: strength or weakness 128

4.4 The political leader 137

4.4.1 Charles Stewart Parnell 138

4.4.2 Robert Emmet 142

5 Conclusion 151

5.1 Gallous stories and dirty deeds: language, sanctioning

functions and paternal authority 154

5.2 The question of literary genre 168

5.3 Finale: (un)satisfactory emancipations 178

Afterword 183

Appendix Biography Matters: Real Fathers 187

William Butler Yeats and John Butler Yeats 188

Lady Gregory 194

John Millington Synge and Sean O’Casey: “a Siamese Twinship”? 196

Playwrights with and without notebooks 200

List of the Irish Plays Mentioned (in Chronological Order) 205

Bibliography 209

Index 221

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