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"Collections supporting Irish literature at all levels."-Choice ?Collections supporting Irish literature at all levels.?-Choice "Aware that in modern drama language is the key to achievement, Colbert Kearney explores in fine detail O'Casey's extraordinarily skilled uses of rhetoric, imagery, and dialog in the making of the three Dublin plays on which his reputations rests. Kearney's thesis, that O'Casey here successfully yokes oral to literary tradition to create a living stage speech, is put to the test with scrupulous attention to O'Casey's texts, and the result is a book which sparkles with originality, intelligent comment, and challenging re-assessments."-Christopher Murray Professor of Drama Department of English University College Dublin "Professor Kearney's book on O'Casey is a major landmark in the study of the language of Irish literature in English. He has the inside knowledge of the language to analyze with confidence, not afraid to recognize excesses and inaccuracies as well as felicities. Principally with reference to the Dublin trilogy, Kearney shows how such things as malapropism, rough phonetics and cliche work within a literary language founded in the oral and the illiterate, placing O'Casey in relation to Shaw and Boucicault. This lucid and witty book carriers its learning with grace and lightness, making it a major contribution to the critical placing of O'Casey as well as to the understanding of his language. It is a brilliant performance."-Bernard O'Donoghue Fellow Wadham College, Oxford Lecturer in English Oxford University "O'Casey, like his characters, lived through the transition from ancient oral codes to those of a literate modernity. For him every word was not just a medium but an action, a register of moral growth and social meaning. Colbert Kearney's book shows that the writer was as much a poet as a playwright. Though wonderfully alert to the political forces at work in O'Casey's Dublin, Kearney convinces us that the plays will live by virtue of their style. His musical analyses of the great speeches remind us that it can still be a real adventure to explore the world of a writer through the nuances of language. O'Casey's defenders and detractors must now treat him as an artist or not at all. This is one of those rare, luminous studies which restores to a writer's work something of its original strangeness, before it became surrounded by polemic."-Declan Kiberd Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama University College DublinReseña del editor:
Levels of education and, consequently, of literacy were low in the Dublin tenements at the beginning of the 20th century, and this facilitated the persistence of an oral tradition which stretched back for thousands of years. This book is an analysis of O'Casey's Abbey plays in the context of the oral culture in which they were set. Because they were powerless in a culture dominated by those who had reaped the advantages of education, the tenement dwellers were dazzled by the apparent magic of literacy and in awe of those who wielded its power. O'Casey uses this to dramatize the ease with which the poor were seduced into what he saw as a bourgeois revolution which brought them nothing but suffering and death. Although Sean O'Casey's Abbey playsThe Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, The Plough and the Stars-are universally admired for the richness of their language, this is the first authoritative analysis of the plays in relation to the linguistic and political culture at the turn of the century. Levels of education, and consequently, of literacy were low in the Dublin tenements and this facilitated the persistence of an oral tradition which stretched back for thousands of years. What might strike the modern reader as extravagant in the language of O'Casey's characters would be quite normal in an oral community where all communication was performative. Because they were powerless in a culture dominated by those who had reaped the advantages of education, the tenement dwellers were dazzled by the apparent magic of literacy and in awe of those who wielded its power. O'Casey uses this to dramatize the ease with which the poor were seduced into what he saw as a bourgeois revolution which brought them nothing but suffering and death. It is hardly surprising, then, that the villains in these plays are educated intruders who speak a language strikingly different from that of the tenement dwellers.
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