Thursday, September 8, 2022

the last book I ever read (We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland, excerpt two)

from We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland by Fintan O'Toole:

Sean O’Casey, whose new play The Drums of Father Ned had also been dropped because he refused to make alterations, had a similar response: ‘The dropping of the plays will be a subject of ridicule all over the world.’ (O’Casey subsequently banned the production of all of his plays in Ireland during his lifetime.) Over the weekend, Samuel Beckett withdrew three mime plays and a reading of his radio play All That Fall from the festival in protest at the Archbishop’s interventions against O’Casey and Joyce. Within a few days, the entire festival would be ‘postponed’–in effect abandoned.

There was, though, one deliciously farcical little afterpiece. It emerged that the Lord Mayor of Dublin had been advised by his (Catholic) chaplain that there was nothing objectionable about staging Ulysses, since it was ‘a story known to everybody’. This was taken to suggest that there might, after all, be some little tinge of liberalism within the church. But ‘it didn’t become clear until much later that he was confusing Homer’s Ulysses with that of James Joyce.

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