The Art of Lennox Robinson

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Hartmut Vormann

The Art of Lennox Robinson. Theoretical Premises and Theatrical Practice

ISBN 978-3-88476-446-6, ISBN 3-88476-446-2, 284 S., kt., € 27,00 (2001)

(Schriftenreihe Literaturwissenschaft, Bd. 54)

A much admired playwright and a member of the Abbey Board of Directors as well as general factotum of the Irish theatre, L. Robinson (1886-1958) did much to shape the course of Irish drama and theatre in the first half of the 20th century. But despite his one-time popularity and pre-eminent position, he seems almost to have fallen into oblivion in recent times. Intended to pave the way for a reappraisal of Robinson's outstanding contributions to Irish theatre, this study attempts to give a systematic account of the theoretical premises that governed the dramatist's manifold activities. To achieve this purpose, the author sets out the relevant evidence from Robinson's non-dramatic writings and from a wide range of comments, by Robinson and others, on the theatre and literary life of the time. Building on this predominantly historical approach, Vormann goes on to scrutinize 19 of the more than 20 dramas written by Robinson. The emphasis here is on analysis of the plays' structure and thematic concerns. While some plays are marred by dysfunctional comic effects as well as by the dramatist's regard for the conventions of the well-made play, Robinson's best work, dramas such as The Big House and Church Street, should even today appeal to large sections of the theatre-going public.