Cultural Materialism and a Class Consciousness?
In his 1991 article, “The Dublin Renaissance: An Essay on Modern Dublin and Dublin Writers”, Ferdia Mac Anna argued that a literary revival was emerging, whereby working-class writers were using innovative techniques to explore the impact of social inequality on the Republic of Ireland, primarily throughout the 1970s and 1980s. While Mac Anna used examples from poetry, novels and plays to support his central thesis, this chapter will adopt a Marxist approach (broadly conceived) to focus exclusively on the effect of social inequality on theatre in Dublin. In doing so, this it will investigate contributing factors to the development of this writing such as location and accessibility in order to examine the role of the working class in their own representation.
This chapter will comprise of three sections: a snapshot of the cultural development of the “Dublin Renaissance” and a background of Ireland in the 1980s; an analysis of theatre companies that emerged in the 1980s such as Passion Machine and Wet Paint; and a study of Dermot Bolger’s The Holy Ground and Paul Mercier’s Home, which will be used as a case study to support/dispute Mac Anna’s claims.
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