Inspiration at the Eleventh Hour: The Nationalist Revisions of James Joyce, Seán O’Casey, and William Butler Yeats

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Devine, Barry C
James Joyce; William Buter Yeats; Sean O'Casey; Nationalism; Genetic Criticism; Textual Studies; James Joyce; William Buter Yeats; Sean O'Casey, Nationalism, Genetic Criticism, Textual Studies
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This project is a genetic study of the process by which James Joyce, Seán O’Casey, and William Butler Yeats expressed their support for Irish independence through their art. I consider how each author altered his text over time in order to create the works of literature that placed them among the greatest authors of the twentieth century. I am particularly interested in the development of Irish nationalism and the socio-historical circumstances that inspired them. I investigate how these writers conceived, revised, and finally presented their nationalist ideas in their texts. Chapter One investigates Joyce’s drafts and revisions for Ulysses and reveals that he added nearly 300 references to Irish nationalism in the final months of his seven-year project. Chapter Two looks at the once-lost text of O’Casey’s The Cooing of Doves and reveals that previous assertions about its influence on The Plough and the Stars were incorrect. The text instead reveals that Plough is almost entirely new material. Chapter Three investigates Yeats’s drafts and revisions as he developed an overtly political persona through his poems between the Easter Rising and the establishment of the Irish Free State and also analyzes the political implications of his chosen methods of publication. This peek into the writing process of the three authors reveals the passion each held for his home country and the struggle they went through in order to let their positions be known.