Ritschel, Nelson O’Ceallaigh
Dr. Nelson O’Ceallaigh Ritschel is Associate Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He received his Ph.D in Dramatic Literature and Theatre History from Brown University. He has written a few plays, among them Within the Maze and Houligan Cogs, and is also the author of several books, including Synge and Irish Nationalism: The Precursor to Revolution (Greenwood Press, 2002) and Productions of the Irish Theatre Movement, 1899-1916 (Greenwood Press, 2001. Dr. Ritschel has also delivered papers for the American Conference for Irish Studies, the International Shaw Society, and the Eugene O’Neill Society.2007 0-7734-5492-6
This book explores the way women, specifically women perceived or presented as Irish, were represented on the Dublin stage by playwrights and actors from the 1820s to the 1920s. Yet, rather than being a feminist reading of modern Irish theatre, this book presents a nationalist and socialist reading of the theatre in its cultural and historical contexts. Arguably, the developmental process that Ireland and its theatre experienced from the eve of Catholic Emancipation to the radical idealism of the 1916 Easter Rising was one of national and social advancement. The radical agitators near the end of this period, including those in the theatre, sought self-determination for Ireland and, more importantly, self-determination for all of the Irish regardless of gender, class, or religion. This book’s argument is that as the stage image of the Irish woman modernized from the early nineteenth century into the twentieth, it mirrored the modernization of Ireland.