McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. 590 pp including index, plates.
Christopher Murray's work on Sean O'Casey is a critical biography. In addition to the normal biographical elements, Dr Murray provides a strong interpretative context for the life, looking afresh at the Dublin of the 1880s and 1890s in order to provide an updated background to O'Casey's childhood. He pays a great deal of attention to the political situation from 1880 to 1922, setting it against O'Casey's own treatment in his six volumes of autobiography. In general he attempts to establish "O'Casey's Ireland". This leads naturally to a fresh examination of the great Dublin trilogy, The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars , the three works on which O'Casey's reputation stands. The rejection of his next play, The Silver Tassie , by the Abbey Theatre precipitated O'Casey's move to England. Except for some very brief visits, he never returned to Ireland. Murray establishes O'Casey as a self-made man of letters, an irrepressible fighter, a man who combined political courage and innocence, an individual torn between a humanist vision of life rooted in his Dublin childhood and a utopian but blinkered loyalty to the Soviet Union.;Murray acknowledges that while much of O'Casey's work was uneven, flawed and over-ambitious, at its best it was infused with a passion and generosity that places it among the best bodies of drama in the twentieth century.