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Modernity, Community, and Place in Brian Friel's Drama

by Richard Rankin Russell

Publication Year: 2013

Modernity, Community, and Place in Brian Friel’s Drama shows how the leading Irish playwright explores a series of dynamic physical and intellectual environments, charting the impact of modernity on rural culture and on the imagined communities he strives to create between readers, and script, actors and audience.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I am very grateful to the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor University, which granted me a summer sabbatical in 2010 as well as a research leave for the fall semester of 2010 during which this book was completed. I am thankful for the friendship and encouragement, scholarly and otherwise, given to me by many colleagues in the Baylor...


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pp. xi-xiv

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pp. 1-29

In 2002 Gerry Smyth noted in his important book Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination that an “interest in Irish space and place surged rather than diminished in the latter decades of the twentieth century,” suggesting that such an interest “emerged from the confused matrix of spatial affi liation, alienation, and negotiation which...

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Mediascape, Harvest, Crash

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pp. 30-63

In Philadelphia, Here I Come!, a split stage and a split main character together portray the divided terrain of protagonist Gar O’Donnell’s mind. Cut off from the land and most sustaining rural rituals, including those of Irish Catholicism, represented in the play by the ineffective, disengaged Canon, Gar longs for connection and love but ...

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Placing the Dead of the Troubles

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pp. 64-103

Friel’s major creative period began with his interest in the Northern Irish political crisis, which is manifested in his 1973 play The Freedom of the City. F. C. McGrath has argued that this play stands out in the playwright’s corpus because it “marked a new level of awareness about language, and it is Friel’s awareness of the intimate relations...

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Faith Healer

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pp. 104-144

When Fintan O’Toole interviewed Friel in 1982, he asked the playwright about the possibility of an autobiographical source for the preponderance of dislocated characters in his work. Friel responded, “There is certainly a sense of rootlessness and impermanence. It may well be the inheritance of being a member of the Northern minority...

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pp. 145-195

Friel had long sought the “redemption of the human spirit” through creating community, which he argues is the dramatist’s function in his 1967 essay “The Theater of Hope and Despair.”1 His subsequent search for a community theater group led him to create the Field Day Theatre Company in 1980 with actor Stephen Rea, who had been in...

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Dancing at Lughnasa

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pp. 196-241

The unease at the profound cultural changes being ushered in by the Ordnance Survey, signaled by Yolland’s language of erosion, which permeates the Ballybeg of 1833 in Translations, also colors the atmosphere of 1936 Ballybeg in Dancing at Lughnasa. As older Michael tells us toward the end of his opening monologue: “[E]ven though I...

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pp. 242-250

If, as Edward Casey argues in his Getting Back into Place, “the modern era . . . brought with it the suppression of place as a central category of human experience,”1 then Brian Friel’s drama seeks to return place to its centrality in our lives. Through his career, he has reclaimed a formerly marginal philosophical category by showing ...


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pp. 251-278

Works Cited

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pp. 279-298


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pp. 299-318

Back Cover

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pp. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780815652342
E-ISBN-10: 0815652348
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815633310
Print-ISBN-10: 0815633319

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 872122201
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Modernity, Community, and Place in Brian Friel's Drama

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Subject Headings

  • Place (Philosophy) in literature.
  • Communities in literature.
  • Friel, Brian -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Postmodernism (Literature) -- Ireland.
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