[I]f I put down a bucket into my own soul’s well, sexual department, I draw up Griffith’s and Ibsen’s and Skeffington’s and Bernard Vaughan’s and St. Aloysius’ and Shelley’s and Renan’s water along with my own. And I am going to do that in my novel (inter alia) and plank the bucket down before the shades and substances above mentioned to see how they like it: … I am nauseated by their lying drivel about pure men and pure women and spiritual love and love for ever: blatant lying in the face of the truth. Letter to Stanislaus Joyce, 13 November 1906 ‘Are we in a brothel here, or a theater?’ shouted a spectator during act two of Gerhart Hauptmann’s Before Sunrise at its 1889 Berlin premiere. Twelve years later that cry still reverberated in Ireland as Joyce, aged nineteen, undertook to translate Before Sunrise for the Irish Literary Theatre. Founded in 1899 by Yeats, Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn, the ILT’s mission was to promote ‘Irish feeling, genius and modes of thought’ by producing new plays in ‘that freedom to experiment which is not found in theatre of England, and without which no movement in art or literature can succeed’. Although English censorship law did not apply in Ireland, the ILT’s free experiments inspired homegrown outrage from its first production, The Countess Cathleen. Just before it folded, it foreclosed Joyce’s hope to contribute to its fostering of a modern cosmopolitan Irish sensibility and produced two Irish Revival plays instead.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)