Bernard Shaw and Sean O’Casey: An Unrecorded Friendship

  • E. H. Mikhail


When St John Ervine’s biography Bernard Shaw: His Life, Works and Friends appeared in 1956, Dr Ronald Ayling, a very close friend of Sean O’Casey, wrote to Ervine saying that the one fault in his book was his failure to record O’Casey’s relations with Shaw. Ervine wrote back in a letter dated 12 September 1957, saying that O’Casey was not one of Shaw’s friends, and that he could not record something that ‘never existed as an important fact’. Dr Ayling forwarded this letter to O’Casey, who said in his reply of 3 November 1957:

I wonder how and where St. John Ervine got his dogmatism? He is more dogmatic on everything under the sun than a newly-fledged Irish Bishop.


American Adventure Irish Literature Soviet Army Founder Academician Irish Nationalism 
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  1. 1.
    Letter in Dr Ronald Ayling’s possession. Subsequent letters appear either in David Krause (ed.), The Letters of Sean O’Casey: I: 1910–41 (New York: Macmillan, 1975)Google Scholar
  2. Eileen O’Casey (ed.), Sean, with an Introduction by J. C. Trewin (London: Macmillan, 1971).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Sean O’Casey, Rose and Crown, Autobiographies, II (London: Macmillan, 1963) p. 280.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    From a copy made by Lady Gregory and printed in Lennox Robinson (ed.), Lady Gregory’s Journals, 1916–1930 (London: Putnam, 1946) pp. 110–11.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Ibid, p. 313. The book Charlotte had sent to him was Joseph H. Wicksteed, Blake’s Vision of the Book of Job: A Study with Reproductions of the Illustrations (London: Dent, 1910).Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    For a concise account of the Academy, founded in 1932, see Stephen Gwynn, Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language: A Short History (London: Nelson, 1936) pp. 232–6.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    Sean O’Casey, Autobiographies, II (London: Macmillan, 1963) pp. 179–80.Google Scholar
  8. 23.
    Hesketh Pearson, Bernard Shaw: His Life and Personality (London: Collins, 1942) p. 390 n.Google Scholar

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© E. H. Mikhail 1981

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  • E. H. Mikhail

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