Sean O'Casey

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O'Casey, Sean

(shôn), 1884–1964, Irish dramatist, one of the great figures of the Irish literary renaissance. A Protestant, he grew up in the slum district of Dublin and was active in various socialist movements and in the rebellions for Irish independence. His first plays, The Shadow of a Gunman (1923), Juno and the Paycock (1924), and The Plough and the Stars (1926), were performed by the Abbey Players with great success. These grim, satiric, and often violent tragicomedies are usually considered O'Casey's most brilliant works. They all treat aspects of the Irish movement for independence, and they are not always kind to the Irish people. The Plough and the Stars, with its unsympathic treatment of the participants in the Easter Rebellion, touched off a riot in the theater, and after this event O'Casey left Ireland for England, never to return. His later plays, more experimental and expressionistic, include The Silver Tassie (rejected by the Abbey Theatre in 1928, but successfully produced in London and New York in 1929), Within the Gates (1934), Purple Dust (1940), Red Roses for Me (1942), and The Bishop's Bonfire (1955). All of O'Casey's plays exhibit a mastery of language and an unsentimental sympathy for the poor. His six autobiographical volumes—I Knock at the Door (1939), Pictures in the Hallway (1942), Drums under the Windows (1945), Inishfallen, Fare Thee Well (1949), Rose and Crown (1952), and Sunset and Evening Star (1954)—were collectively published as Mirror in My House (2 vol., 1956). He also wrote a book of drama criticism, The Green Crow (1956). His collected plays appeared in four volumes in 1949–51.


See biographies by M. B. Marguiles (1970) and by his wife, Eileen O'Casey (1972); studies by R. Hogan (1960) and J. Simmons (1984).

References in periodicals archive ?
In Britain he has enjoyed a larger following; in the United States he remains virtually unknown, his excellent critical works on Sean O'Casey and Mulk Raj Anand, his commendable collections of Indian writing, and his own fictions having found few readers.
During the mid-to-late 1960s, Dorst introduced a number of foreign works to the German theater and translated or adapted plays by Thomas Dekker, Denis Diderot, Moliere, and Sean O'Casey, among others.
Synge, Sean O'Casey, and, by a facile incorporation, Samuel Beckett in the aftermath, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and George Moore in the prelude.
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Original artwork etching by Breon O'Casey, son of playwright Sean O'Casey, valued at $3,000 to be raffled.
The local Sean O'Casey community centre also got on board, sending a letter to Centra paying tribute to Muhammad's "hard work" and "friendliness".
And Aidan O'Brien and Seamus Heffernan might double-up with three-yearolds Sean O'Casey and General Macarthur.
Sean O'Casey Aidan O'Brien 5th, 1m2f maiden, Cork, March 26 Despite being beaten 24 lengths, this colt stood out as the horse to take out of the day and he looks certain to win races when the ground dries out.
Sean O'Casey is generally considered to have been the first playwright to write about the Irish urban working classes, in three plays produced at the Abbey in the 1920s.
The Irish playright Sean O'Casey argued: "Laughter is wine for the soul - laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness - the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.
He insisted upon interviews with Sean O'Casey or Eamon de Valera when he thought it could help his work.
O'Donnell + Tuomey's Sean O'Casey Community Centre building in Dublin is both simple and elusive, direct and subtle.