Ruin, Ritual and Rememberance in 20th Century Irish Drama


Rollins, Ronald


Ph.D University of Michigan

This monograph explores the development of Irish drama in the 20th century and discusses recent cultural critiques of the entire enterprise of the Irish theatre. Rollins interprets Yeats, Synge, Beckett, Friel and McGuiness among others as practitioners in a kind of national reformulation of ritual and memory. This is one of the most thorough one volume discussions of the greatest century of Irish dramatic creativity and influence.

“…I am impressed with the critical writing in Ronald Rollins’s RUIN, RITUAL AND REMBRANCE. His scholarship focuses on Ireland’s intricate history and Yeat’s definition of maimed Irish space “ great hatred, little room.” Rollins deals with three playwrights, Sean O’Casey, Denis Johnston and the contemporary Frank McGuiness and their response to the nationalist uprising of 1916. Rollins points up after artful consideration of the older dramatists, the special relevance of McGuiness’ idea that the Ulster rebels of pre World War 1 are the same as the Dublin rebels of 1916, the flip side of the coin. These writer see each denomination in Ireland as ordinary, half inspired, half bigoted human beings curiously united in their defiant rhetoric. The central thrust of the study is a consideration of the nationalist poet/playwright and leader Patrick Pearse as a man lost in the labyrinth of revolutionary rhetoric; in Rollins approach to McGuiness’ THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME, Rollins argues the proposition that the character Piper is a counter figure to Pearse, similarly involved in the ritual chants of war, youth and death. The difference is that the real life Pearse shot by the British survives as an icon of Irish republicanism while the fictional Piper lives to see the Protestant house of Ulster crumble. Rollin’s work is full of insights like this. Buy the book.”
---James Liddy

“ …highly recommended.”
Professor Robert Mahony-Catholic University of America

Irish Drama and Theatre, 20th c; Irish Studies; Drama, history of, Easter Rising 1916
Release Date: 
Cloth: 1-930901-26-7
Trim Size: 
6 x 9

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