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Irish Women Playwrights 1900-1939

Gender and Violence on Stage


Cathy Leeney

Irish Women Playwrights 1900-1939 is the first book to examine the plays of five fascinating and creative women, placing their work for theatre in co-relation to suggest a parallel tradition that reframes the development of Irish theatre into the present day.
How these playwrights dramatize violence and its impacts in political, social, and personal life is a central concern of this book. Augusta Gregory, Eva Gore-Booth, Dorothy Macardle, Mary Manning, and Teresa Deevy re-model theatrical form, re-structuring action and narrative, and exploring closure as a way of disrupting audience expectation. Their plays create stage spaces and images that expose relationships of power and authority, and invite the audience to see the performance not as illusion, but as framed by the conventions and limits of theatrical representation.
Irish Women Playwrights 1900-1939 is suitable for courses in Irish theatre, women in theatre, gender and performance, dramaturgy, and Irish drama in the twentieth century as well as for those interested in women’s work in theatre and in Irish theatre in the twentieth century.


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Notes Introduction 1 Eavan Boland, ‘Story,’ in In a Time of Violence (Manchester: Carcanet, 1994), p.48 2 Mary Trotter, Ireland’s National Theaters: Political Performance and the Origins of the Irish Dramatic Movement (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2001), pp.73–99 3 Lucy McDiarmid and Maureen Waters, ‘Introduction’ in Lady Gregory: Selected Writings, ed. by Lucy McDiarmid and Maureen Waters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995), pp.xi- xliv, (p.xl). See also Elaine Aston’s foregrounding of the ‘tradition of women’s theatre his- tory […] if feminist theatre scholarship is to change the future history of the stage.’ in An Introduction to Feminism and Theatre (London: Routledge, 1995), p.34 4 Elizabeth Grosz, Space, Time and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies (London: Routledge, 1995), p.40 5 Melissa Sihra, ‘Introduction,’ in Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, ed. by Melissa Sihra (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007), pp.1–22, (p.9) 6 Katherine E. Kelly, ‘Introduction: The Making of Modern Drama,’ in Modern Drama by Women, 1880s—1930s, ed. by Katherine E. Kelly (London: Routledge, 1996), pp.1–17, (p.7) 7 See Jacky Bratton, ‘Women on Stage: Historiography and Feminist Revisionism,’ Theatre Notebook, 50 (2), (1996), 62–65 8 Mary Trotter, Ireland’s National Theaters 9 Ailbhe Smyth, ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi,’ Irish Review, 6 (1989), 7–24, (p.10) 10 Eavan Boland, A Kind of Scar: The Woman Poet in a National Tradition (Dublin: Attic Press, 1989) 11 Anthony Bradley and Maryann Gialanella Valiulis, ‘Introduction,’ Gender and Sexuality in Modern Ireland ed. by...

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