One consequence of consorting for some time with O'Casey's work is that one loses control for the workaday world. The experience is delightful, but it is poor preparation for journeyman's work such as the writing of a preface to a collection of plays. O'Casey can do the one thing to critics that shouldn't be done--he can inebriate them. It is doubtful, moreover, that he would regret unchaining anyone from the cast-iron moorings of criticism for the greater glory of a carouse. In a worrying mood, he once wrote that "the Gael will be pickled in penance." But when the question is one of leavening life, O'Casey is one Gael who cannot swim in the brine of repentance.
Fortunately, the critic too needn't be repentant for yielding to the heady companionship of his subject, and the pleasure of introducing O'Casey to his readers--to, I hope, more readers than he already has--is more important than taking a . . .
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