Illusion and Actuality in the Later O’Casey (1965)
Lennox Robinson in his autobiography Curtain Up relates how, ‘towards the middle of 1921’ the Abbey began to receive what he describes as ‘badly constructed, sentimental’ plays, in which ‘the author’s world seemed to be divided into two compartments — selfish, licentious capitalists and noble, pure Proletarians’. If Robinson is giving even a roughly just description of O’Casey’s world in 1921, the information is useful as an index to O’Casey’s imaginative preoccupations as he stood, aged forty-one, on the threshold of his career as a dramatist. Robinson tells us also that the original of O’Casey’s first play The Shadow of a Gunman was a manuscript called On the Run, and quotes a letter from O’Casey stating that this play dealt ‘with the difficulties of a poet who is in continual conflict with the disturbances of a tenement house, and is built on the frame of Shelley’s phrase “Ah, me. alas. vain. pain. ever forever”’.1
KeywordsTenement House Pregnant Daughter Parish Priest Papal Encyclical Grand Illusion
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