Irish Adaptations of Greek Tragedies Dionysus in Ireland

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In the 20th century alone, over twenty Irish authors have adapted more than twenty versions of ancient Greek tragedies, or plays based on Greek themes. Through a comparative analysis of Irish dramas (from playwrights Yeats, MacNeice, Kennelly, Heaney, Mahon, and McGuinness) and the original Greek Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, this volume explores the theatrical relationship between the political and the personal, the Classical and the contemporary, the Irish and the Greek.


“The research is thorough, citing not only interpretations of the Greek tragedians and their modern interpreters, but also performance practice. It combines historical information with living playwrights, and literary analysis. The access to interviews and personal correspondence with the living authors gives the book a fresh and refreshing tone, as it intermingles the scholarly and the poetic. Younger convinces us of the importance of these Irish versions of the ancient plays.” – Nancy Rabinowitz, Professor of Comparative Literature, Hamilton College

“I am thrilled by what I can only call a critical story; that is the fascinating narrative of his perceptions, the network of his insights. Kelly Younger’s book is a story, but it is also a fine example of critical sophistication arising from ruthless scholarly research, It is written with clarity and force, demanding attention the way good storytellers do, returning a certain magic for the giving of that attention. So the book has a crafted, clever, humane structure that is deeply appealing, even magnetic.” – Brendan Kennelly, Professor of English, Trinity College Dublin

“A wonderful elucidation of the continuing relevance of Greek tragedy, in this case as seen through the eyes of Irish playwrights.” – Marianne McDonald, Professor of Theatre and Classics, University of California, San Diego

Table of Contents

Preface by Daniel Farrelly, Professor of Drama Studies, University College Dublin
Foreword; Introduction
1. W. B. Yeats: King Oedipus and Oedipus at Colonus
2. Louis MacNeice: The Agamemnon
3. Brendan Kennelly: Antigone, Medea, Trojan Women
4. Seamus Heaney: The Cure at Troy
5. Derek Mahon: The Bacchae
6. Frank McGuinness: Electra
Conclusion; Bibliography; Index

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