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Ireland and the Czech Lands

Contacts and Comparisons in History and Culture


Edited By Gerald Power and Ondrej Pilny

In recent years Irish scholars have become increasingly interested in Ireland’s profound and ongoing relationship with continental Europe. This volume is the first multidisciplinary collection of essays on Irish comparisons and contacts with the Czech Lands from the early modern period to contemporary times. Written by leading specialists and emerging scholars, the essays explore Irish-Czech exchanges and parallels in a variety of fields including history, politics, literature, theatre, journalism and physical education. Collectively, these essays demonstrate that Ireland and the Czech Lands have much in common and that they have enjoyed deep cultural connections: both countries are small European states with imperial pasts and a tradition of mutual migration and cultural transfer. Until now, however, Czech-Irish commonalities and connections have largely been overshadowed by both countries’ interactions with bigger, more powerful nations. This book remedies this neglect, offering new research which not only sheds light on Irish-Czech connections and contacts, but also offers new perspectives on the positions of both societies within the wider European context.


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Ondřej Pilný Irish Drama in the Czech Lands, c. 1900-2013


Ondřej Pilný Irish Drama in the Czech Lands, c. 1900–2013 Works by Irish authors have enjoyed prominence in Czech theatres ever since the nascence of modern Irish drama in the last decade of the nine- teenth century. Yet the pattern of what was performed in the Czech Lands, and when, matches canonical status in Ireland only in part, since the Czech production history has been shaped not so much by the success of a par- ticular play in Dublin, but rather by the fact that the work would have been presented to acclaim in London, in Germany, or occasionally in Paris. Moreover, the arrival of a number of Irish plays at Czech stages was deter- mined by the interest of a translator, director or dramaturge quite inde- pendently of its staging history in Ireland; often, it was mere chance that occasioned a popular Czech production, without the play necessarily being regarded as a major work in the context of Irish theatre. Similarly to other parts of Europe, the two playwrights to have enjoyed by far the greatest reputation in the Czech Lands were Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, particularly in the first half of the twentieth cen- tury. However, both authors were frequently referred to as English, and it was only rarely that their Irish origins were discussed or even mentioned.1 Wilde was first championed by Czech Decadents: in 1895, a debate ensued 1 This comment refers primarily to the coverage of individual works in the press,...

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