The Irish Dramatic Movement

By Una Ellis-Fermor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
THE ENGLISH THEATRE IN THE NINETIES

[The English dramatic renascence and the phases which led up to it have been touched on briefly in the introduction, where the part played in the history of the English drama by the Irish movement has been outlined. A certain amount is repeated here in more detail and from a slightly different angle in order to give those readers who wish it a picture of the English theatre which at first influenced the conservative Irish stage and was later influenced itself by the new Irish stage created by the literary theatre. For those readers who do not this particular side-light upon the relations of the two bodies of drama, this chapter can be omitted without loss of continuity.]

THE DRAMA of the Irish movement was, though utterly national in its origins, material, resources and methods, in no way limited to Ireland in its effects. Before it was four years old it was beginning to be known in England1 and its international reputation was well established before the American tour of 1911-12. To English audiences in London and the provinces, both plays and actors were an entirely new experience and although English dramatists for the rest of the decade followed for the most part the lines laid down by their own renascence of the eighties and the nineties and were mainly inspired, directly or indirectly, by Ibsen, the English return to poetic drama in the years before the European war was, if not directly prompted or inspired, at least encouraged by the elder move

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1
Leaving aside the production of W. B. Yeats's Land of Heart's Desire in 1894 (Avenue) and Edward Martyn's Heather Field in 1899 ( Terry's) as independent events, the visits of the company to England (with its own plays) begin surprisingly soon with the flying visit of Saturday, May 2, 1903 at the Queen's Gate Hall, S. Kensington (see Appendix I, under date). In the following year were two visits, to the Royalty and the Court Theatre, and from then onwards they continued steadily. (See, for a description of these visits, Lady Gregory: Our Irish Theatre, 37-8 and W. B. Yeats: The Irish Dramatic Movement ( Plays and Controversies, pp. 38-9).

-18-

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The Irish Dramatic Movement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Preface to the First Edition ix
  • Preface xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter I - The Origin and Significance of the Irish Dramatic Movement 1
  • Chapter 2 - The English Theatre in the Nineties 18
  • Chapter 3 - The Early History of the Movement 33
  • Chapter 4 - Ideals in the Workshop 59
  • Chapter 5 - W. B. Yeats 91
  • Chapter 6 - Martyn and Moore 117
  • Chapter 7 - Lady Gregory 136
  • Chapter 8 - John Millington Synge 163
  • Chapter 9 - Conclusion and Prospect 187
  • Appendices 208
  • Index 237
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