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The Influence of English Colonial Discourse on Early Irish Adaptations of Shakespeare, 1674-1754

O'Dowd, Liam (2011) The Influence of English Colonial Discourse on Early Irish Adaptations of Shakespeare, 1674-1754. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to examine the earliest Irish adaptations of Shakespeare and to consider to what extent contemporary English-Irish relations informed or shaped the texts. As such, this thesis seeks to build on recent interest in Irish responses to and revisions of Shakespeare, as evidenced by such publications as Robin Bates’ Shakespeare and the Cultural Colonization of Ireland (London: Routledge, 2007), Rebecca Steinberger’s Shakespeare and Twentieth-Century Irish Drama: Conceptualizing Identity and Staging Boundaries (London: Ashgate, 2008), and Shakespeare and the Irish Writer, edited by Janet Clare and Stephen O’Neill (Dublin: UCD Press, 2010). In doing so it seeks to extend knowledge of Shakespeare in Ireland by attending to overlooked texts from the late-seventeenth century and eighteenth century. The thesis will focus on adaptations of Shakespeare by Thomas Duffet and Nahum Tate, as well as later works by Thomas Sheridan and Macnamara Morgan. It will demonstrate how these writers reconstructed what has Robin Bates describes as Shakespeare’s ‘cultural impressment’ of Ireland and explore the ways in which Irish writers came to signify Ireland through Shakespeare, ultimately signaling a potential proto- or pseudo- nationalism long before the Gaelic Revival of the nineteenth century. The thesis deploys a historically informed postcolonial analysis, in considering the extent to which the plays in question become bound up with their contemporary moment, on both an individual and collective basis. Duffet and Tate wrote whilst Ireland was still under the effect of plantation, whereas Sheridan and Morgan wrote in the midst of the Protestant ascendancy. Where do these aspects of the English-Irish discourse shine through the chosen material? As many of the texts were produced by individuals with allegiances to both states, a primary area of inquiry is the status of the texts themselves: are they specifically ‘Irish’ adaptations? What does such a category signify? In addressing these and other questions, this thesis will deploy a primarily postcolonial analysis, for, as Edward Said and other postcolonial critics have shown, such an analysis is particularly useful in recognising and celebrating dual traditions and identities. Where and how such dual allegiances affect the texts remains an open question, and one which this thesis aims to engage with.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Keywords: English Colonial Discourse; Early Irish Adaptations of Shakespeare;
Subjects: Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy > English, Media & Theatre Studies
Item ID: 2726
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2011 11:58
URI:

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