Irish Drama in Poland (Book)

Staging and Reception, 1900-2000

Irish Drama in Poland is the first book to broadly assess Irish drama's impact on both Poland's theatrical world and its cultural and literary heritage in the twentieth century. With a wide-ranging analysis – from Yeats, Synge, O'Casey and Behan, to Wilde, Shaw and Beckett – this engaging study explores the translation, production and reception of Irish plays in Poland. Barry Keane presents readers with the historical and literary context for each production, allowing readers to understand the many ways Irish theatre has informed Poland's theatrical and literary heritage. Including a foreword by translation scholar Michael Cronin, Irish Drama in Poland drives home the importance of exploring intercultural contexts, allowing readers a more informed understanding of European culture and identity.


Barry Keane is adjunct professor of translation and comparative studies at the University of Warsaw and associate professor of translation and comparative studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw. He is the author of Irish Drama in Poland.

List of Illustrations

Foreword Michael Cronin



Prologue: Thomas Moore: An Early Meeting of the Waters 

Chapter 1: Compromised Heroes: Irish Drama in the Era of Young Poland (1900–1918)

Chapter 2: A Fall from Grace: Irish Drama During the Inter-War Years (1918–1939)

Chapter 3: Walking on Eggshells: Irish Drama in the Post-War Era (1945–1960)

Chapter 4: Towards the Modern Era (1960–1979) 

Epilogue: The Millennial Surge

'This compelling history of the reception of Irish theatre in Poland serves two main purposes: it provides an informed outline of twentieth-century Polish drama and its relationship with foreign (especially Irish) theatre, and it expands our understanding of Irish literature through an external outlook.' 

Rachel Clements, New Theatre Quarterly

'During a time in which differences threaten to weaken global communities, a work like Barry Keane’s Irish Drama in Poland is a welcome reminder that in spite of seemingly insurmountable conflicts, more unites than divides. Keane’s comparative study spans a nearly 200 year period in Polish theatre history, where Ireland’s presence was evident in more than just artistic terms. The influence of Irish culture and history makes just as much of an impression as its theatre. Keane painstakingly details the life of the artistic community in Poland, from the “Young Poland” movement of the late nineteenth century to the avant-garde theatre of the 1950s, and beyond. The result is a deceptively dense work in spite of its relatively brief length that transitions from historical background to critical reception.' 

Aileen R. Ruane, The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies

'The variety of examples that Irish Drama in Poland offers, Keane’s engagement with both Polish- and English-language sources, his attention to different journeys that led individual Irish plays to Polish stages, and his exploration of various tensions these interactions brought about, makes Irish Drama in Poland a very rich resource. The book is appropriate not only for cultural and theatre studies, but also for literature and translation studies. I would imagine that scholars and graduate students would find it particularly useful as Keane assumes a basic level of familiarity with both cultures. However, if preceded by a lecture on Irish and Polish history and culture, it could become an extremely useful reading for undergraduates. Barry Keane’s book is a timely study that adds to our understanding of European theatre and its history as a larger cultural phenomenon created and recreated through multiple and often conflicting interactions between peoples, languages, history, and the arts.' 

Kasia Lech, The Polish Review

'In this rich, fluently written book, Barry Keane does exactly what he says he is going to do on the cover. His subject is the staging and reception of Irish drama in Poland in the twentieth century. The book must be of interest and use to a variety of readers: aficionados and aficionadas of Irish drama; those interested in the Polish theatre; those whose concern is with the reception of works of one national literature within the culture of another nation; and those who like a good literary story well told.'

David Malcolm, Studi irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies
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