Version classiqueVersion mobile

Yeats's Mask

Margaret Mills Harper
Warwick Gould

Yeats’s mask

To ‘make others see my dream as I had seen it’: Yeats’s aesthetics in Cathleen ni Houlihan

Aisling Carlin

Texte intégral

  • 1 Elizabeth Coxhead, Lady Gregory: A Literary Portrait (London: Macmillan, 1961), 68; Daniel J. Murp (...)
  • 2 James Pethica, ‘“Our Kathleen”: Yeats’s Collaboration with Lady Gregory in the Writing of Cathleen (...)
  • 3 Antoinette Quinn, ‘Cathleen ni Houlihan Writes Back: Maud Gonne and Irish National Theater’, Gende (...)
  • 4 Nicholas Grene, The Politics of Irish Drama: Plays in Context from Boucicault to Friel (Cambridge: (...)

1It is now well established that Lady Gregory collaborated with Yeats in the writing of Cathleen Ni Houlihan. However, the extent and the implications of this collaboration remain incoherent. In 1962, Elizabeth Coxhead suggested Lady Gregory as primary author of the play, and in 1971 Daniel J. Murphy made the more absolute claim that Lady Gregory wrote the play ‘in its entirety’.1 Perhaps the most extensive and scholarly investigation of the play’s authorship is James Pethica’s 1988 article, published in the Yeats Annual.2 Pethica’s articulate examination of manuscripts and his comparative analysis of Cathleen ni Houlihan in the light of other writings by Lady Gregory (her folklore collections, the strongly nationalist essay ‘Felons of the Land’, and the play, The Travelling Man), placed a scholarly obligation on succeeding commentators to admit Lady Gregory’s role as at least co-author, if not primary author, on this occasion. For Antoinette Quinn, the reappraisal of Lady Gregory’s role is just one step in recognising ‘the upstaging of real women by the nationalist female icon’ that followed these early productions.3 Nicholas Grene also supports this reassessment of authorship, referring to the play throughout The Politics of Irish Drama as Kathleen ni Houlihan, his spelling and textual citations derived from Lady Gregory’s Selected Writings.4 In view of this critical re-assessment of authorship, Yeats’s insistent appropriation of the play within his Collected Works strikes some as the wishful thinking and vanity of an otherwise unpopular playwright. This impression derives in some part from Lady Gregory’s remarks, as noted by Elizabeth Coxhead:

  • 5 Coxhead, 68.

When her family…urged her to stake her claim, she always refused with a smile, saying that she could not take from [Yeats] any part of what had proved, after all, his one real popular success.5

  • 6 Maria Tymoczko, ‘Amateur Political Theatricals, Tableaux Vivants, and Cathleen ní Houlihan’, YA10 (...)
  • 7 Deirdre Toomey, ‘Moran’s Collar: Yeats and Irish Ireland’, YA12 67.
  • 8 Michael McAteer, ‘“Stranger in the House”: Alienation and History in The Land of Heart’s Desire an (...)

2The due acknowledgement of Lady Gregory’s participation in the writing of Cathleen ni Houlihan cannot, and generally does not seek to, erase Yeats from the picture. However, any critical analysis based on Yeats as primary author requires resolution of the play’s stylistic incongruity with his other early drama. Performing this task, Maria Tymoczko contextualizes the play in relation to popular melodrama and the tableaux vivants.6 Tymoczko highlights Yeats’s early optimistic intention of using the theatre to affect a ‘Unity of Being’, claiming the popular theatre with its preordained iconographic meanings as the proper home of Cathleen ni Houlihan. For Tymoczko, Cathleen ni Houlihan can be safely attributed to Yeats because his vision at this stage was of a popular theatre. Deirdre Toomey helps clarify authorial roles by attributing the uncanny aspect of the play to Yeats and the heimlich aspect to Lady Gregory.7 More recently, Michael McAteer examined the occult ritualism of the play, paying particular attention to the play’s interlocking conceptualisation of history, masculinity, and marriage.8 McAteer discerns a symbolic pattern and radical politics in Cathleen ni Houlihan that developed from The Land of Heart’s Desire in response to the criticism expressed by Frank Fay:

  • 9 Frank J. Fay, Towards a National Theatre: The Dramatic Criticism of Frank J. Fay, ed. Robert Hogan (...)

The plays which Mr. Yeats wishes to see on the stage of his ‘Theatre of Art’ remind me of exquisitely beautiful corpses. The Countess Cathleen and The Land of Heart’s Desire are undoubtedly charming, aye, and moving too; but they do not inspire; they do not send men away filled with the desire for deeds.9

3Despite reassessment of Cathleen ni Houlihan as a piece of Yeatsian drama, in line with its first promotion and performance as a play by Yeats, this range of critical response shows that debate still pertains as to the populist versus esoteric aesthetics contained, and how exactly to configure these within Yeats’s theory of art.

4The aim here is to further prove Yeats’s justification in taking Cathleen ni Houlihan as primarily his creation, notwithstanding Lady Gregory’s collaboration. This justification comes to light in considering the allegorical and symbolical aspects of the play as serving a specific purpose within Yeats’s broader theory of art. The realistic setting and statuesque acting style veil a finely crafted ‘spirit drama’ which bears all the hallmarks of Yeats. The duplicity of a linear surface meaning and an underlying cyclical and symbolic meaning was carefully plotted and constructed by Yeats in accordance with the principles of Greek tragedy. As Oedipus discovers in his solving of the riddle, Cathleen ni Houlihan offers the spectator a choice of meanings through which Yeats communicates the ‘tragic crisis’ (Au 332) which constitutes the play’s theme. The tragic crisis is fundamentally an aesthetic crisis and a choice between allegoric or symbolic historical frames, between what is named and what is suggested. Read allegorically, Cathleen ni Houlihan traces a Gothic dimension to Irish history, not only in terms of colonial rule, but also in terms of a Celtic Christianity long suppressed by Roman rule. The deduction of political allegory from the play perpetuates a linear history which Yeats called ‘the confident logic … the way of a marching army’ (E&I 318). Cathleen ni Houlihan is Yeats’s attempt to transfigure this militaristic and deadening historical trajectory using a symbolic art. The Old Woman’s transfiguration into a young girl is a symbolic representation of a historical transformation that is both iconoclastic and iconographic. It is only through recognition of the play’s symbolic significance, dependent on the power of suggestion which is the antithesis of allegorical meaning, that this historical transformation can be fully understood. In essence, Yeats sought a renewal of the religious imagination that gave birth to the young and beautiful Cathleen ni Houlihan, but which had now sunken through the outworn and repetitive labours of old age into a hypnotic entrapment within a Gothic allegory. Read in this way, Yeats was not reaffirming the popular consumption of Irish iconography as exhibited by Inghinidhe na hEireann and the tableaux vivants, but rather he sought to transfigure the allegorical reduction of a once sacred national icon to what he deemed the level of idolatry, through symbolic suggestion.

5Yeats’s views on allegory and symbolism are developed in the 1898 essay on William Blake entitled, ‘Symbolism in Painting’, following on from the 1897 essay, ‘William Blake and his Illustrations to the Divine Comedy’. In keeping with Blake, Yeats considered allegory as reading ‘a meaning – which had never lacked its voice or its body – into something heard or seen, and loved less for the meaning than for its own sake’ (E&I 147). On the other hand, symbolism ‘gave dumb things voices, and bodiless things bodies’ (E&I 147). The key difference here is that allegory simply perceives an already given reality; in contrast, symbolism actually brings new life, it transfigures perception into conception, what is named history into what is born anew. Thus a truly symbolic art shatters past memories and engenders a new historical source. For Yeats then, to accomplish a symbolic art is to discover a new form of religious expression, a perfection through which history starts afresh:

A person or a landscape that is a part of a story or a portrait, evokes but so much emotion as the story or the portrait can permit without loosening the bonds that make it a story or a portrait; but if you liberate a person or a landscape from the bonds of motives and their actions, causes and their effects, and from all bonds but the bonds of your love, it will change under your very eyes, and become a symbol of an infinite emotion, a perfected emotion, a part of the Divine Essence; for we love nothing but the perfect, and our dreams make all things perfect, that we may love them. Religious and visionary people, monks and nuns, and medicine-men and opium-eaters, see symbols in their trances; for religious and visionary thought is thought about perfection and the way to perfection; and symbols are the only things free enough from all bonds to speak of perfection (E&I 148–49).

  • 10 This conceptualisation of tragedy derives from Aristotle’s Poetics in which Aristotle assigns the (...)

6Carried to extremes, the choice of literary modes is nothing less than a spiritual choice, a theme which appears throughout Yeats’s early works including The Countess Cathleen, The King’s Threshold and the essay ‘Magic’. In ‘Symbolism in Painting’ Yeats draws an association between allegory and ‘the Daughters of Memory’, in whose hands history becomes languid, frustrated, and embittered. For Yeats, an unfettered reliance on allegory signifies spiritual danger: allegory permits entrenchment of the historical memory, breeding the obsession that makes ‘a stone of the heart’ (VP 394). In keeping with Blake, Yeats believed symbolism liberates from and transcends a vengeful hatred using the imagination, which is itself love and beauty and the forgiveness of sin (E&I 111–15). Like tragedy, with its roots in the yearly cycle of nature, the symbolic imagination possesses the secret to spiritual renewal, that is, the ability to overturn loss, destruction and death and to bear new life.10

7This distinction between allegory and symbolism is important in discerning the type of revolution envisaged by Yeats in Cathleen ni Houlihan. Essentially, Cathleen ni Houlihan exposes the spiritual peril involved in physical force nationalism, as evidenced in the sectarian atrocities which took place during 1798 rebellion. As early as 1894, Yeats guarded against the human cost of sudden revolution and was wary of the collective energy seeking historical justice. In correspondence with Alice Milligan Yeats wrote:

I have often noticed that Irish men who have no personal dignity or nobility will yet have a true & devoted love for their country & I have made a story to describe this & put the song into it. My experience of Ireland, during the last three years, has changed my views greatly, & now I feel that the work of an Irish man of letters must be not so much to awaken or quicken or preserve the national idea among the mass of people but to convert the educated classes to it on the one hand to the best of his ability, & on the other – and this is the more important – to fight for moderation, dignity and the rights of the intellect among his fellow nationalists (CL 1: 399).

8Yeats’s qualified presentation of nationalism here is important to the interpretation of Cathleen ni Houlihan because the story referred to is his 1894 publication, ‘Kathleen-Ny-Hoolihan’, later reprinted in The Secret Rose as ‘Hanrahan and Cathleen, the Daughter of Houlihan’ (VSR 205–09; 102–05; Myth 2005 153–55). Significantly, Cathleen is not a physical presence in the story but rather a suggested one, finding similarity to the suggested offstage presence of the young Cathleen of the later play, “a young girl…[with] the walk of a queen” (VPl 231) and of whom Yeats would sing, “Your Mother Eire is always young” (‘Into the Twilight’, VP 148). In the story, Cathleen is brought to mind through the imagination of Hanrahan and a motley band of social outcasts. Margaret Rooney, with whom Hanrahan lodges, is described as having ‘no good name at that time, and it was the priest routed her out of the place at last’, while her companion, Mary Gillis, is described as having ‘much the same story as herself ’. Cathleen ni Houlihan is revealed here amongst a people whom time would sooner forget, whose lives fall outside the margins of history – that is, women of ill-repute, ‘bocachs and beggars and blind men and fiddlers’, and Hanrahan who, with his stories of the Fianna, belongs to an almost extinct bardic culture (Myth 2005 153).

9The Cathleen envisaged by this party is not an Old Woman of the roads, nor is her chastity a likely condition of their love. This Cathleen is she who abides throughout the storm that breaks ‘courage ... like an old tree in a black wind’, she who quells the ‘[a]ngers that are like noisy clouds’, she who transcends the ‘heavy flooded waters’ which are ‘our bodies and our blood’ (Ibid. 154–55). In this imaginative vision, Cathleen performs the role of fertility goddess to a human world that suffers misery and mortality just as nature suffers. Rather than conducting a doom-laden call to arms and betraying an erotically charged Gothic fascination with death, Hanrahan’s Cathleen stands inviolable before the futility of imminent disaster and spiritual obliteration.

10Thus read in relation to Cathleen ni Houlihan it is possible to distinguish Yeats’s alternative to allegory and what is named, through elucidation of the symbolism of the play and what the names suggest. The play’s religious meaning – the proposal of a spiritual revolution and thus a new historical birth – is grasped through the suggestive power of all characters on stage. The names Peter, Bridget, Michael, Delia, and Patrick are no less important than Cathleen ni Houlihan. In the marriage of Peter and Bridget there is signification of the Irish Catholic alliance with Rome (St. Peter) and the Christianization of pagan Ireland: ‘Brigid’ was originally a pagan goddess who came to be appropriated into Christianity as an Irish saint. Michael bears a name association with Michael of the heavenly host, archangel of the Church Militant, often pictured as brandishing a flaming sword; Delia is a Greek name derived from the birth of the goddess Artemis on the island of Delos. Through the symbolism of their names, the prospective marriage of Michael and Delia implies the wedding of a Christian male with a pagan goddess. Finally, in Patrick there occurs not just a name association with St. Patrick, first apostle and patron saint of Ireland, but also a totemic association with Cuchulain, as demonstrated in the wish for a greyhound pup.

  • 11 Rosalind Clark, The Great Queens: Irish Goddesses from the Morrigan to Cathleen ni Houlihan, Irish (...)
  • 12 Lionel Pilkington, Theatre and the State in Twentieth Century Ireland: Cultivating the People (Lon (...)
  • 13 Clark, 185.

11Through these names, Yeats evokes a history of religion extending much further back than 1798. Actually in operation in Cathleen ni Houlihan is a historical cycle lasting 2000 years, arriving at the possibility of a last analysis in the rebellion of 1798. Turning to Cathleen then, a key question must be asked of her religious identity and function. Since Rosalind Clark’s illuminating study of the radical changes imposed on poetic representations of the female Sovereignty during the course of Ireland’s colonial history, the interpretation of Cathleen ni Houlihan as an intrinsically nationalist allegory has faced new challenges.11 Rather than celebrate Cathleen’s youthful rejuvenation, the focus has been on the blood sacrifice demanded by the old woman. Drawing comparisons with vampirism and the Hag of Beare, Cathleen has at last come to be politically identified by Lionel Pilkington as ‘a Unionist deux ex machina’ who disrupts and nullifies the anticipated economic development of the cosy Irish homestead.12 However, approached in this way, Pilkington again superimposes a political and allegorical framework upon the play, a logical development of Clark’s argument that through Yeats, Cathleen ‘became interested in the sacrifice of her subjects, not their prosperity’.13 Yet crucially, this malevolent Cathleen is fact an intentional device employed by Yeats to confront his audience with the realisation of just how desecrated the national memory had become, in fact no longer functioning as an image of unity – the perfection of love and forgiveness of sins. Yeats hereby sought to awaken a realization of personal complicity and collective sin in the perpetuation of national disharmony. As Winny of the Cross-Roads testifies, the appearance of the Old Woman is no cause for jubilation; she is an omen, ‘the strange woman that goes through the country whatever time there’s war or trouble coming’ (VPl 216). Her chastity and her descent from sovereign to peasant are not attributes that bode well in Yeats’s aristocratic and strongly anti-Puritan schema. As for Oedipus, so too does Cathleen’s identity as national icon contain more than one truth. In Cathleen ni Houlihan Yeats ironically suggests that the cure to Irish Gothic history, with its appendage totemic tendencies and the human sacrifice of war/rebellion, is the alchemical restoration of Cathleen to all her transcendental grandeur, an emblem of the kingdom’s fertility to be envisioned by power of the mind, rather than greeted as a physical presence with offerings of food and money.

12Interpreted in line with Yeats’s discussion of allegory, the Old Woman’s incantatory lines gain an ominous fatalism, in fact the fatalism of damnation. Whilst assuming the appearance of heroism, the substance of the Old Woman’s words is laden with irony. ‘They will have no need of prayers, they will have no need of prayers’ (VPl 228) she says, not because they have a place reserved for them in heaven but because they will be beyond all mercy having surrendered their spiritual agency. ‘They that have red cheeks will have pale cheeks for my sake, and for all that, they will think they are well paid’, she says, the word ‘paid’ clanging loudly in Yeats’s repertoire with connotations of simony and materialism (VPl 229). And summoning those ‘Daughters of Memory’ who may be said to perpetuate Diarmuid and Dervogilla’s curse in The Dreaming of the Bones, she sings, ‘They shall be remembered for ever, | They shall be alive for ever, | They shall be speaking forever, | The people shall hear them for ever’ (VPl 229). Everything uttered by the Old Woman contains an awful and terrible irony, a prophecy of both spiritual entrapment and physical alienation:

‘…many that have been free to walk the hills and bogs and the rushes will be sent to walk hard streets in far countries; many a good plan will be broken; many that have gathered money will not stay to spend it; many a child will be born and there will be no father at its christening to give it a name’ (VPl 229).

  • 14 D. Vincent Twomey, The End of Irish Catholicism? (Dublin: Veritas, 2003), 28–29.

13With these words, Cathleen the Old Woman is exposed as a succubus of the nation’s soul, feeding primarily on its masculine strength. Moreover, considering the fundamental significance of names to the play’s power of suggestive meaning, this absence of a father at baptism seems to harbinger collapse into the absolute chaos of unmitigated hatred and violence. In short, this Cathleen ni Houlihan appearing in the form of an old woman is a mask worn by the angel of death, epitomising what Vincent Twomey describes as the ‘angelism’ of the nation, drawing people ‘away from God by making the nation an end in itself, or…[by] claim[ing] divine status for one’s own nation’.14 Yeats was attempting to foreground for his audience the potential sacrilege of patriotism when the iconography is aged or hollowed out, thus defiled into idolatry.

14The choice between allegory and symbol in Cathleen ni Houlihan is condensed in the Gillane family’s response to the prospective marriage of Michael and Delia. Significantly, the parents focus on the material corollary of the marriage – the new clothes and the dowry. Compounding this materialism is the insinuation of simony, contained in Bridget’s hope that they may turn the dowry to spiritual account by making Patrick a priest. In contrast, Patrick looks forward to his gift, a greyhound pup promised to him by Delia upon her entrance to the house as newly married bride. The young couple’s fate pivots at the crossroad of these contrary desires. When Michael takes over from his parents in conversation with the Old Woman, he moves to the centre of a sacrificial site. This transition signals the confrontation of material desire with its moment of spiritual reckoning.

  • 15 McAteer, 46.

15As argued by Michael McAteer, occult significance is attached to Bridget’s offer of milk and here by extension, to Peter’s offer of money. This offer of milk and money on the eve of the young couple’s marriage instances a gross mesalliance and oversight on the parents’ behalf. In keeping with McAteer’s argument, milk and honey are accepted by the Fairy Child in The Land of Heart’s Desire. The Old Woman’s refusal of milk in Cathleen ni Houlihan establishes ‘a complex engagement with the ‘libidinal economy’ of marriage in a particular historical and social situation’.15 Notably, milk and honey are the food items traditionally associated with the nurture of youth; wine and bread on the other hand, are the food items associated with maturity, also the spiritual food of Christian sacrifice. Having crossed the offer of milk with the offer of money, the Gillane parents not only fail to correlate the food item appropriate to the Old Woman’s age, but they corrupt the nature of that offer with the avaricious logic that also enshrined the marriage bargain. According to folk tradition, the offer of money was an insult to the fairy world, and it was also a taboo gift for such healers as Biddy Early (UP2 225). Given the supernatural aspect of Cathleen ni Houlihan, it can be seen that she would seek vengeance for the insult of the parents’ offerings. In taking the body and blood of Michael, the son, the aged Cathleen therefore takes the physical equivalent of the spiritual error performed. Michael’s enchantment with the Old Woman reflects the hypnotic element of ritual slaughter marking his transformation in the piece from passive voyeur to symbolic lamb. ‘If anyone would give me help’ proclaims the Old Woman, ‘he must give me himself, he must give me all’ (VPl 226). Therefore the religious identity and function of the aged Cathleen is that she ministers and performs a Black Mass before the witness of a packed theatre auditorium. Michael’s exit with the Old Woman is the passing of a sacrificial victim into the pagan world of the Sidhe.

16Michael’s death is a consequence of his parents’ materialistic and allegorical reduction of what was essentially a loving union between two young people. Having transacted spiritual wealth for material gain, Peter and Bridget must watch the supernatural forfeit – the loss of a much loved son. However, another reality comes into being simultaneously with this loss, and that is the miraculous vision beheld by Patrick upon returning to the house. Having been absent throughout the sacrificial scene, Patrick’s return signals a religious transformation – significantly, it is through his eyes that Cathleen appears ‘a young girl ... [with] the walk of a queen’ (VPl 231). By appealing to the audience’s visionary eye, Yeats compels an imaginative action which transcends the physical devastation played out onstage and it is through this vision that Yeats extends his hope for Irish nationalism. Through Patrick, perhaps the most overlooked and most important player in the piece, Cathleen is envisaged as a young queen who commands a reverential love by virtue of her transcendent beauty. By drawing this relation through Patrick, Yeats implies an alternative association between ‘home’ and ‘the stranger’ than the ‘libidinal economy’ of marriage – here revealed is a symbolic image of dreamlike quality. It is only through recognition of allegory as a point of departure for envisaging symbolism that Cathleen ni Houlihan embodies a nationalistic agenda. Through the formation of an intangible visionary relation between Patrick and Cathleen, Yeats brings to birth the possibility of a new 2000 year historical cycle. Read in this light, the flaw of Peter and Bridget goes beyond their bourgeois materialism: it lies at the very heart of their marriage union and the founding principles of Christianity in Ireland as implied in their namesakes. Cathleen ni Houlihan is a condensation of Irish history, in all its idealism and failure, within a radical symbolic structure that seeks the liberation of that history from national allegories which hasten tragic crisis.

17Cathleen ni Houlihan is a profoundly nationalist play, but not in the way it was first received or in subsequent allegorical interpretations. The nationalist solution offered here is one of religious transformation. The play is primarily and essentially religious in its conception and structure; its political dimension exists insofar as it asks a spiritual question of patriotism. Yeats duly emphasized the symbolic significance of the play:

  • 16 NLI 109 52 (i) (vi). Reprinted in Anthony Coleman, ‘A Calendar for the Production and Reception of (...)

…it may be said that it is a political play of a propagandist kind. This I deny. I took a piece of human life, thoughts that men had felt, hopes they had died for, and I put this into what I believe to be a sincere dramatic form. I have never written a play to advocate any kind of opinion and I think that such a play would be necessarily bad art, or at any rate a very humble kind of art. At the same time I feel that I have no right to exclude, for myself and for others, any of the passionate material of drama.16

  • 17 Marjorie Howes, ‘When the Mob becomes a People’, Yeats’s Nations: Gender, Class and Irishness, sec (...)
  • 18 Douglas Hyde, Selected Plays of Douglas Hyde ‘An Craoibhin Aoibhinn’, trans. Lady Gregory, selecte (...)
  • 19 Stephanie J. Pocock, ‘Artistic Liminality: Yeats’s Cathleen ni Houlihan and Purgatory’, New Hibern (...)

18Contrary to Marjorie Howes’s claim that Yeats’s purpose was to hypnotise his audience,17 the possibility occurs that Yeats hoped to awaken Dublin audiences whom he believed to be fixated by the images and narratives of an outworn nationalism into an imaginative vision of the moment of national rebirth. If anything, the popularity of the play and the compounding of an allegorical meaning at the expense of an intricate symbolic patterning must have been profoundly disappointing to Yeats. Indeed, Lady Gregory’s conceit regarding her collaborative role, and her promotion of the play as a nationalist allegory, could have only diminished further Yeats’s hopes for the play. Lady Gregory’s grafting of the end of Cathleen ni Houlihan onto her translation of Douglas Hyde’s An Posadh, highlights further an acute lack of insight and a failure to fathom the holistic integrity of symbolic art.18 This failure to recognise Yeats’s symbols, still prevalent in criticism to date, is a serious distortion of the play’s meaning. For Stephanie Pocock, the often-cited ‘The Man and the Echo’ expresses Yeats’s long held anxiety about the issue.19 She writes:

  • 20 Pocock, 109.

For the elderly Yeats, the incident evidences the breakdown in communication between artist and audience, validating his sense that, like the Man in his poem, his complex questions and spiritual struggles echo back to him reduced and twisted into statements of objective violence… The cry of wordless terror echoes the violence his words have caused…His words echo back to him, transformed into violent screams by a world in which he, and his words, are dangerously out of phase.20

19To conclude, the complexity of structure and detail justifies Yeats’s authorship of the play, and whilst Lady Gregory contributed her part, Yeats’s role, as he so succinctly claimed, was he ‘pared it to the bone’ (Au 332).


1 Elizabeth Coxhead, Lady Gregory: A Literary Portrait (London: Macmillan, 1961), 68; Daniel J. Murphy, ‘Lady Gregory, Co-Author and Sometimes Author of the Plays of W. B. Yeats’, Modern Irish Literature: Essays in Honour of William York Tyndall, ed. Raymond J. Porter and James D. Brophy (New York: Iona College Press, 1972), 47.

2 James Pethica, ‘“Our Kathleen”: Yeats’s Collaboration with Lady Gregory in the Writing of Cathleen ní Houlihan’, YA6 3–31.

3 Antoinette Quinn, ‘Cathleen ni Houlihan Writes Back: Maud Gonne and Irish National Theater’, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Ireland, ed. Anthony Bradley and Maryann Gialanella Valiulis (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997), 47.

4 Nicholas Grene, The Politics of Irish Drama: Plays in Context from Boucicault to Friel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Lady Gregory, Selected Writings, ed. Lucy McDiarmid and Maureen Waters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995).

5 Coxhead, 68.

6 Maria Tymoczko, ‘Amateur Political Theatricals, Tableaux Vivants, and Cathleen ní Houlihan’, YA10 33–64.

7 Deirdre Toomey, ‘Moran’s Collar: Yeats and Irish Ireland’, YA12 67.

8 Michael McAteer, ‘“Stranger in the House”: Alienation and History in The Land of Heart’s Desire and Cathleen ni Houlihan’, Irish Theatre in England, Irish Theatrical Diaspora Series 2, ed. Richard Cave and Ben Levitas (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2007), 35–51.

9 Frank J. Fay, Towards a National Theatre: The Dramatic Criticism of Frank J. Fay, ed. Robert Hogan (Dublin: The Dolmen Press, 1970), 52.

10 This conceptualisation of tragedy derives from Aristotle’s Poetics in which Aristotle assigns the origins of tragedy to ‘the authors of the Dithyramb’ ‘Poetics’, The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. Richard McKeon, introduction by C. D. C. Reeve (New York: The Modern Library, 2001), 1458. For further explanation of the Dithyramb, see Jane Ellen Harrison, Ancient Art and Ritual (1913; London: Thornton Butterworth, 1927), 101; and Gilbert Murray, ‘Excursus on the Ritual Forms preserved in Greek Tragedy’, Themis, 341–63 and Five Stages of Greek Religion (1912; London: Watts & Co., 1935), 60. Also relevant to the discussion of the evolution of ritual and religion, see Sir James G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, edited and introduced by Robert Fraser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

11 Rosalind Clark, The Great Queens: Irish Goddesses from the Morrigan to Cathleen ni Houlihan, Irish Literary Studies 34 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1991).

12 Lionel Pilkington, Theatre and the State in Twentieth Century Ireland: Cultivating the People (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 32.

13 Clark, 185.

14 D. Vincent Twomey, The End of Irish Catholicism? (Dublin: Veritas, 2003), 28–29.

15 McAteer, 46.

16 NLI 109 52 (i) (vi). Reprinted in Anthony Coleman, ‘A Calendar for the Production and Reception of Cathleen ni Houlihan’, Modern Drama 18.2 (1975), 137.

17 Marjorie Howes, ‘When the Mob becomes a People’, Yeats’s Nations: Gender, Class and Irishness, second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 66–101.

18 Douglas Hyde, Selected Plays of Douglas Hyde ‘An Craoibhin Aoibhinn’, trans. Lady Gregory, selected and introduced by Gareth W. Dunleavy and Janet Egleson Dunleavy (Gerards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1991), 80–105. Hyde’s Gaelic version is the verso page with Lady Gregory’s translation on the recto. Lady Gregory’s translation deviates from the original text, particularly in the closing section of the play in which she tries to emulate the transfiguration of Cathleen ni Houlihan in the person of the poet Raftery.

19 Stephanie J. Pocock, ‘Artistic Liminality: Yeats’s Cathleen ni Houlihan and Purgatory’, New Hibernia Review 12.3 (2008), 99–117.

20 Pocock, 109.


Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search