Sean O'Casey: A Life

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9780689118869: Sean O'Casey: A Life

Traces the life of the Irish playwright, discusses his role in the Irish Republican movement, and looks at his relationships with Shaw, Yeats, and other writers

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From Publishers Weekly:

O'Casey (1888-1964), the feisty Irish dramatist best known for his early plays Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars, is for the first time the subject of a full-length biography. It is a lively, insightful study (by a former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and author of Ralph Richardson) that illuminates a man whose inconsistencies matched his talent but made him a richer character than any he portrayed for the stage. Reared in the Dublin slums, O'Casey spent the latter half of his life in exile in England and was violently anticlerical, a Communist, touchy, obsessive and always spoiling for a fight; but he also had a sense of comedy that transcended his anger. His early plays, performed at the Abbey Theatre in its heyday, won him international fame while causing near riots; his later, more experimental work received mixed reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. O'Connor, who covers the playwright's quarrel with Yeats and his notable friendships with Shaw and Harold Macmillan, praises him above all for his humanity, which in his best work expressed itself in a "truly Elizabethan breadth of language and emotion." Photos.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

O'Casey's artistic life can be charted as a series of diminutions. None of his later plays captures the fierce elegance of character that fire Juno and the Paycock , Shadow of a Gunman , and The Plough and the Stars , while later volumes of Mirror in My House , his autobiography, yield up nuance and imagination to crotchet and pettiness. What never alters is O'Casey's cantankerous, intemperate, yet almost joyous self-confidencewhether in his self-exile from Ireland, his Communism, his anticlericalism, or his passionate feuds (with Yeats and the Abbey Theater) and friendships (with Shaw). All of this is made clear by his biographer. Where he falters is in his shallow, often clumsy analyses of O'Casey's personal and aesthetic motives. The result is a valuable rather than an invaluable study. Arthur Waldhorn, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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