Eugene O'Neill in Ireland: the critical reception
Although Eugene O'Neill felt that his Irishness was the single feature that came closest to explaining his work, the reaction of the Irish critics and public to his plays has never been systematically explored. This new study is the first to focus on Irish perceptions of O'Neill. It traces the discussion carried on by Irish critics, scholars, and theatre professionals and reveals, in the process, many exciting new insights into the nature and significance of the dramatist's work. A balanced and informative treatment, it includes the author's penetrating analysis of the ways O'Neill's Irish heritage affected his work, a selection of essays by Irish critics, and information on Irish productions of his plays. Shaughnessy first examines the dimensions of the playwright's Irish connections -- his ancestry and cultural heritage and his use of Irish-related themes, symbols, and language. He looks at the history of productions staged in Ireland between 1922 and 1987 and at the Irish perceptions of 'the O'Neill issue.' Drawing on reviews, personal interviews, questionnaires, and letters, Shaughnessy reveals the complexity of the controversy surrounding the playwright's work. Selected essays, editorials, reviews, and scholarly commentaries -- many reprinted here for the first time -- demonstrate the range of opinion and the continuing impact of O'Neill plays on Irish thought. A catalog of productions of O'Neill plays in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland provides information on the dates and locations of productions as well as casts and directors. This lively and informative work also includes a selection of superb photos of O'Neill productions staged by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin Gate Theatre, and Belfast Lyric Players.
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