Festschrift for Tadhg Foley
Edited By Maureen O'Connor
The Stage-Irishman Represented through Spain: The Castle of Andalusia (1782) by John O’Keeffe (1744–1833) Asier Altuna-García de Salazar 191
The Stage-Irishman Represented through Spain: The Castle of Andalusia (1782) by John O’Keeffe (1744–1833) Asier Altuna-García de Salazar The theatrical representation of the Catholic Irish picturesque personality and character in the Anglo-Irish literary discourse of the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries proved a constant both on the Irish and English stages. Many a Protestant Anglo-Irish writer saw in this deroga- tory representation of the native Irish not only an open door to success and recognition on the London stage, but also the circulation of social energy in their depiction of the continuous re-creation of the colonial exploitation Ireland was suffering. Indeed, this farcical, albeit fierce, representation of the native Irish – widely enjoyed by the English and Anglo-Irish audiences of the time – was an exemplar of the social, economic, religious, and literary negotiations the Irish discourse at large was undertaking: a clear instance of the politics of the theatre at the hands of colonialism at the end of the eighteenth century. However, the depiction of the stage-Irishman should not be consid- ered from the side of Protestant writers exclusively. There existed many Catholic Irish writers who approached the stage-Irishman in a similar way. The Dublin-born John O’Keeffe (1747–1833) descended from old Catholic stock, which had lost importance under the introduction of the Penal Laws, and, in the O’Keeffes’ case, because of a family devotion to the Stuart cause. He received a Jesuit education and attempted his first comedy at the early age of fifteen. Around 1780 he moved...
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