Dion Boucicault

Dion Boucicault : Irish Identity on Stage

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Deirdre McFeely presents the first book-length critical study of Dion Boucicault, placing his Irish plays in the context of his overall career. The book undertakes a detailed examination of the reception of the plays in the New York-London-Dublin theatre triangle which Boucicault inhabited. Interpreting theatre history as a sociocultural phenomenon that closely approximates social history, McFeely examines the different social and political worlds in which the plays were produced, demonstrating that the complex politics of reception of the plays cannot be separated from the social and political implications of colonialism at that time. The study argues for a shift in focus from the politics of the plays, and their author, to the politics of the auditorium and the press, or the politics of reception. It is within that complex and shifting field of stage, theatre and public media that Boucicault's performance as playwright, actor and publicist is interpreted.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 5 b/w illus.
  • 1139368702
  • 9781139368704

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Becoming Boucicault; 2. Nationalism, race and class in The Colleen Bawn; 3. Music, myth and censorship in Arrah-na-Pogue; 4. Alternative readings: The Rapparee and Daddy O'Dowd; 5. The politics of exile: The Shaughraun in New York; 6. 'Audiences are not political assemblies': The Shaughraun in London; 7. Supporting the Land League: The O'Dowd; Conclusion: towards an Irish national drama.
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Review quote

'McFeely is not so scholastically detached as to let us forget that Boucicault's plays are fun and that he was a master of pithy dialogue and comic inventiveness. This is a wonderfully well-researched and discerning book, placing Boucicault as a much more politically motivated playwright than previous critics have ever suggested.' Irish Times 'Thoughtful and insightful ...' The Times Literary Supplement 'McFeely's sparkling collection of research on the political importance of Boucicault's plays is detailed and comprehensive, yet her writing is not burdened with perplexing terminology or arbitrary discourse ... [Her] accurate and acute analysis of primary resources provides sound evidence for her argument, while her familiar style provides an excellent foundation for the nascent theatre researcher delving into the captivating realm of Irish literature and drama.' A. I. Cahill, Studies in Theatre and Performance 'There is much to like in this well-researched study, which illuminates the international reception of some of Boucicault's best-known work. ... students of Boucicault will find it a rich resource.' Nicholas Daly, Victorian Studies
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About Deirdre McFeely

Deirdre McFeely's work on Boucicault has appeared in publications including Irish Theatre on Tour (edited by Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash) and Irish Theater in America: Essays on Irish Theatrical Diaspora (edited by John Harrington). This is her first book.
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