Chapter

‘What if the Church and State are the mob that howls at the door?’: Fighting the Irish at Home and Abroad, 1927–1934

Lauren Arrington

in W.B. Yeats, the Abbey Theatre, Censorship, and the Irish State

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590575
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595523 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590575.003.0005

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘What if the Church and State are the mob that howls at the door?’: Fighting the Irish at Home and Abroad, 1927–1934

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In 1927 Eamon de Valera entered constitutional politics with Fianna Fáil. This chapter addresses the rise of conservatism as Fianna Fáil and Cumann na nGaedheal (the ruling party) competed for the votes of Catholic constituents. It argues that Lennox Robinson's play Give a Dog was withheld from production due to concerns that its production would endanger the subsidy. This censorship was instigated by Lady Gregory, not the new government‐appointed representative Walter Starkie. Fianna Fáil won the 1932 election, and the Abbey felt the effects of the new conservatism immediately. The American political party, Fianna Fáil, Inc., objected to the Abbey's touring programme—particularly to the plays of O'Casey—and urged the Irish government to institute control over the Abbey's productions. During this period the Abbey directors maintained a delicate balance between their public defiance of censorship and private negotiations with de Valera. This chapter also argues that Denis Johnston's play Shadowdance (later The Old Lady Says No!) was not censored but rejected on aesthetic grounds.

Keywords: de Valera; Lennox Robinson; Walter Starkie; O'Casey; Denis Johnston

Chapter.  22215 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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