Collective identity has been a dominant theme throughout the history of modern Irish drama, from the time of the Irish Literary Theatre up till the cultural changes that have resulted from the economic boom of the late 1990s. This book focuses on playwrights from W.B. Yeats and J.M. Synge to Sean OCasey, Denis Johnston, Brian Friel, Stewart Parker and Martin McDonagh and discusses the variegated ironic interactions of their work with the discourse of Irishness, highlighting the difficulties entailed in essentialist definitions of identity, be they called nationalist, post-colonial or otherwise. At the same time, the book points out the sheer amount of theatrical and thematic innovation the ironic relationship with identity has brought about over the decades.
Ondrej Pilny is Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at Charles University, Prague. He is editor of Global Ireland: Irish Literatures in the New Millennium (with Clare Wallace), Time Refigured: Myths, Foundation Texts and Imagined Communities (with Martin Prochazka), and an annotated volume of J.M. Synges works in Czech. His translations include Flann OBrien's The Third Policeman.