‘A Kinda Trinitarian Soul’: Sean O’Casey and the Art of Autobiography

  • William J. Maroldo


The Autobiographies of Sean O’Casey,2 published originally from 1939 to 1954, at intervals of about three years, comprise six volumes — nearly 1/2 million words, by far the bulk of the Irish playwright’s literary production. Yet only the first four, the Irish Books (I Knock at the Door, Pictures in the Hallway, Drums under the Windows, and Inishfallen, Fare Thee Well), exemplify autobiography as genre; the last two, the Books of Exile (Rose and Crown and Sunset and Evening Star), are not autobiography but blends of reminiscence and memoir differing in structure, point of view, and major theme from what precedes them. There are, moreover, signs in the fourth of the Irish Books which predict O’Casey’s eventual abandonment of the genre.


Literary Form Sunday School Paradise Lost Lunatic Asylum Pensive Lake 
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  1. 5.
    See David H. Greene, ‘Great Dramatist’s Approach to Autobiography’, Commonweal, LXV (25 January 1957) p. 441Google Scholar
  2. David Krause, Sean O’Casey: The Man and His Work (New York: Macmillan, 1960) p. 2.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    Weston St John Joyce, The Neighbourhood of Dublin (Dublin & Waterford, M. H. Gill, 1912) p. 298.Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1954) p. 168.Google Scholar

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© William J. Maroldo 1981

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  • William J. Maroldo

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