Brian Friel

Brian Friel (frēl), 1929–2015, Irish playwright, b. Killyglogher, Northern Ireland. Treating themes that enmesh both Irelands, he became the most acclaimed Irish dramatist of the late 20th cent. Friel's family moved to Derry (1939), and he attended St. Patrick's College, Maynooth (B.A., 1949) and a teacher's training college. He taught for 10 years, published short stories, produced radio plays, and became a full-time writer in 1960. He studied (1963) with Tyrone Guthrie at his theater in Minneapolis, and while there wrote his first successful play, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, which deals with a young Irishman considering emigration to the United States. Beginning in the 1970s, Friel wrote much about the political realities of the two Irelands, as in The Freedom of the City (1973) and Living Quarters (1977). In 1980 he and actor Stephen Rea formed the Field Day Theater Company, Northern Ireland, which soon (1981) produced Friel's Translations. Friel also wrote of Irish family life, skillfully mingling it with surreal effects, in such plays as Aristocrats (1979) and the internationally known Dancing at Lughnasa (1990; Tony Award). Among his other plays are Lovers (1968), Volunteers (1975), Faith Healer (1979), Making History (1988), and Give Me Your Answer, Do! (1999). Friel also wrote short stories.

See biography by G. O'Brien (1980); studies by E. S. Maxwell (1973), U. Dantanus (1985), E. Andrews (1995), and R. Pine, ed. (1997).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Brian Friel: Selected full-text books and articles

Brian Friel: A Sociological Appreciation of an Irish Playwright By Flanagan, Kieran Contemporary Review, Vol. 266, No. 1551, April 1995
Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama, and Performance By J. Ellen Gainor Routledge, 1995
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Linguistic Imperialism, the Early Abbey Theatre, and the Translations of Brian Friel"
Molly Astray: Revisioning Ireland in Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney By Moloney, Karen M Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 46, No. 3, Fall 2000
Monoogue as Dramatic Action in Brian Friel's 'Faith Healer' and 'Molly Sweeney.' By DeVinney, Karen Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 45, No. 1, Spring 1999
Irish Studies and the Adequacy of Theory: The Case of Brian Friel By Richards, Shaun Yearbook of English Studies, Vol. 35, Annual 2005
Acting between the Lines: The Field Day Theatre Company and Irish Cultural Politics, 1980-1984 By Marilynn J. Richtarik Clarendon Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: Friel is discussed throughout, especially in chapters 2-4
The Abbey Theatre, 1899-1999: Form and Pressure By Robert Welch Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Brian Friel in multiple chapters
An American in Ireland: The Representation of the American in Brian Friel's Plays By Germanou, Maria Comparative Drama, Vol. 38, No. 2-3, Summer-Fall 2004
Memory and Forgetting in a Time of Violence: Brian Friel's Meta-History Plays By Crowley, Tony Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies, No. 3, Annual 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Brian Friel's Transformation from Short Fiction Writer to Dramatist By Russell, Richard Rankin Comparative Drama, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter 2012
Brian Friel's Short Stories and Play Revisited: Orientating "The Visitation," "Foundry House," and Aristocrats in Their Historical and Audience Contexts By He, Chu Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies, No. 7, Annual 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook By Alexander G. Gonzalez Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: "Brian Friel: (1929-)" begins on p. 85
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