O’Casey, Sean

Sean O’Casey was born John Casey in Dublin in 1880.

Sean O'Casey
Sean O'Casey 1924. Wikimedia Public Domain

His major plays are his Three Dublin Plays: The Shadow of a Gunman (Dublin, The Abbey Theatre, 1923), Juno and the Paycock (The Abbey Theatre, 1924), and The Plough and the Stars (The Abbey Theatre, 1926); and The Silver Tassie (London, 1929).

The Plough and The Stars famously provoked a riot by nationalist elements in the audience. W.B. Yeats‘ reprimand –You have disgraced yourself again. Is this to be the recurring celebration of the arrival of Irish genius? – referenced a similar riot at the opening of Synge’s 1907 Playboy of the Western World, also in the Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre rejected The Silver Tassie, after which O’Casey never lived in Ireland again.

His subsequent plays include Within the Gates (London, 1934); The Star Turns Red (1940); Red Roses for Me (1943); Purple Dust (1945); Oak Leaves and Lavender (1947); Cock-a-Doodle Dandy (1949); The Bishop’s Bonfire (1955); The Drums of Father Ned (1959); and Behind the Green Curtains (1962).
His one-act plays include Nannie’s Night Out; A Pound on Demand; and Time to Go.

His early stories, poems, and plays were collected as Windfalls (London, Macmillan, 1934); The Plough and the Stars (New York, Macmillan, 1926: Juno and the Paycock (London, Macmillan, 1928); and The Shadow of a Gunman (London & New York, French, 1932). His plays were collected as Collected Plays, in five volumes (London, Macmillan/New York, St Martin’s Press, 1949-1951, the fifth in 1984); Five one-act plays (London, Macmillan/New York, St Martin’s Library, 1958); and Three more plays (London, Macmillan/New York, St. Martin’s Library, 1965).

His six volumes of autobiography were published between 1939 and 1954 by Macmillan of London and were published in the USA as Mirror in My House: The Autobiographies of Sean O’Casey (New York, Macmillan, 1956). They were later reprinted in two volumes as Autobiographiesimage (Macmillan, London, 1963).
His essays were published as The Flying Wasp (London, Macmillan, 1937); The Green Crow (New York, George Braziller, 1956); Feathers from the Green Crow (including early poems and plays. ed. Robert Hogan. Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1962/London, Macmillan, 1963); Under a Coloured Cap (London, MacMillan/New York, St Martin’s Press, 1963); and Blasts and Benedictions (ed. Ronald Ayling. London, MacMillan/New York, St Martin’s Press, 1967).

His letters have been collected as The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1910-1941 (ed. David Krause. London, Macmillan/New York, Macmillan, 1975); A self-portrait of the artist as a man: Sean O’Casey’s letters (ed David Krause. Dublin, The Dolmen Press; [distributed in America by Dufour Editions, Chester], 1968); The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1942-54 (ed. David Krause. London, Cassell/New York, Macmillan, 1980); The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1955-58 (ed. David Krause.Washington DC, Catholic University Press, 1989); and The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1959-64 (ed. David Krause.Washington DC, Catholic University Press, 1992).
His miscellaneous writings include a lament for his son Niall, who died of leukemia, Niall: A Lamentimage (London, John Calder, 1991); and The Story of the Irish Citizen Armyimage (London and New York,1980).
He died in Devon, England, in 1964. The Silver Tassieimage (London, 1929).

The Plough and The Stars famously provoked a riot and Yeats’ retort to the crowd, You have disgraced yourselves again, a reference to a similar riot at the opening of Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, also in the Abbey Theatre.

The Abbey Theatre rejected The Silver Tassie, after which O’Casey never lived in Ireland again.
His subsequent plays include Within the Gates (London, 1934); The Star Turns Red (1940); Red Roses for Me (1943); Purple Dust (1945); Oak Leaves and Lavender (1947); Cock-a-Doodle Dandy (1949); The Bishop’s Bonfire (1955); The Drums of Father Ned (1959); and Behind the Green Curtains (1962).

His one-act plays include Nannie’s Night Out; A Pound on Demand; and Time to Go.

His early stories, poems, and plays were collected as Windfalls (London, Macmillan, 1934); The Plough and the Stars (New York, Macmillan, 1926: Juno and the Paycock (London, Macmillan, 1928); and The Shadow of a Gunman (London & New York, French, 1932). His plays were collected as Collected Plays, in five volumes (London, Macmillan/New York, St Martin’s Press, 1949-1951, the fifth in 1984); Five one-act plays (London, Macmillan/New York, St Martin’s Library, 1958); and Three more plays (London, Macmillan/New York, St. Martin’s Library, 1965).

His six volumes of autobiography were published between 1939 and 1954 by Macmillan of London and were published in the USA as Mirror in My House: The Autobiographies of Sean O’Casey (New York, Macmillan, 1956). They were later reprinted in two volumes as Autobiographies (Macmillan, London, 1963).
His essays were published as The Flying Wasp (London, Macmillan, 1937); The Green Crow (New York, George Braziller, 1956); Feathers from the Green Crow (including early poems and plays. ed. Robert Hogan. Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1962/London, Macmillan, 1963); Under a Coloured Cap (London, MacMillan/New York, St Martin’s Press, 1963); and Blasts and Benedictions (ed. Ronald Ayling. London, MacMillan/New York, St Martin’s Press, 1967).

His letters have been collected as The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1910-1941 (ed. David Krause. London, Macmillan/New York, Macmillan, 1975); A self-portrait of the artist as a man: Sean O’Casey’s letters (ed David Krause. Dublin, The Dolmen Press; [distributed in America by Dufour Editions, Chester], 1968); The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1942-54 (ed. David Krause. London, Cassell/New York, Macmillan, 1980); The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1955-58 (ed. David Krause.Washington DC, Catholic University Press, 1989); and The Letters of Sean O’Casey 1959-64 (ed. David Krause.Washington DC, Catholic University Press, 1992).

His miscellaneous writings include a lament for his son Niall, who died of leukemia, Niall: A Lament (London, John Calder, 1991); and The Story of the Irish Citizen Army (London and New York,1980).

He died in Devon, England, in 1964.



Sean O’Casey at Faber & Faber

Sean O’Casey at Wikipedia

Obituary of Eileen O’Casey by John Calder

Sean O’Casey at The National Library of Ireland