Anglo-Irish Theatre and the Formation of a Nationalist Political Culture Between 1890 and 1930

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The period between the fall of Parnell in 1890 and the Easter Rising 1916, is one of the most complex in Irish history due to the close interrelation between politics and culture. Literature played a significant role in the gestation of the modern Irish nation, and the Anglo-Irish Literary Movement led by Lady Gregory, William Butler Yeats, and John Millington Synge became repeatedly involved in the political struggle. This book investigates the intricate relationship between writers and politics and their responsibility for the emerging radicalization of nationalism toward 1916. It also considers the question of the writers’ own involvement in the nationalist cause, and focuses on the interplay of politics, nationalism and the very human element of personality and timing in order to elucidate the mechanics of national mobilization before 1916.


“Offered at a time when many continental specialists in Irish studies will cleave to old materialist explanations, his book will have strongly corrective effect. But it also has a priceless quality to which few Irish scholars would now lay claim: an objectivity about the various methods of interpretation. Its author has the gift of explanation without simplification; and he remains open to not only the varieties of Irishness but also to the varieties of methodology in teasing out that plural tapestry. The book is greatly enriched by Dr. Grote’s sympathetic but critical insights into Gaelic revivalism as a major element in the Irish Renaissance equation…. With his strong awareness of contemporary debates in Irish popular culture, the author is wonderfully positioned to make a telling intervention: and that intervention is one of which many subsequent contributors to the debate will have to take account.” – Declan Kiberd, University College, Dublin

“… a smart and thorough outside look at a period in Irish history often studied from the inside. Grote offers an impartial but impassioned insight into the texts, politics, and performances that shaped the country and ultimately established Ireland as an internationalist political culture….Unlike some Irish scholars, Grote is unafraid to challenge traditional and revisionist exegesis from the island. Irish scholars take note. What Grote says of Synge also applies to himself, namely ‘the interchange between different cultures is more beneficial than threatening.’ And this work is a great benefit to our field.” – Kelly Younger, Loyola Marymount University

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword by Declan Kiberd
Introduction: Writing and Politics
1. The Early Yeats: In Search of the Queen
2. The Abbey Fringe: Shaw & Wilde – Exiles set the stage; Moore, Martyn, Milligan – In the Shadow of Yeats; Lady Gregory – The Struggle for Recognition
3. J. M. Synge: The Art of Challenging
4. Conradh Na Gaeilge: Longing for the Past
5. Sinn Féin: The Gael, The Gael, & Nothing but the Gael
6. The Playboy and Other Riots: In Defence of Kathleen
7. 1916: Gallous Stories and Dirty Deeds
8. Sean O’Casey: No Time for Love
9. The Elder Yeats: All Changed, Changed Utterly
10. Did that play send out certain men the English shot? The Literary Movement and Irish Nationalism
Notes; Bibliography; Index

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