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Acknowledgments

Russell Durgin was an exceptional teacher and a fine director of plays; his wife Charlotte was, and remains, a designer of ingenious skill and a person of remarkable insight and charity. This book is dedicated to them in memory of the years from 1968 to 1974 in St. Louis, Missouri; during that time, we staged Yeats's Purgatory in a ghetto electric with violence and the murder of the Boy by the Old Man caused some on that street-corner square to gasp in recognition; presented the ritualistic murder of his A Full Moon in March before the reredos of Christ Church Cathedral to the irritation and wonder of parishioners; and inserted a performance of Synge's In the Shadow of the Glen into the uproar of a big, noisy Irish pub, where we played to an accompaniment of lewd jokes. It was in these and the many other performances of those years (presided over by Russell's ironic glee and Charlotte's warmth of understanding) that a leading idea of this book began to germinate—that the meaning of a text is always reshaped by the occasion of the performance, its institutional and political context.

This book is indebted in an unusual way to one person, my colleague William M. Murphy, who suggested the subject, helped me with research materials, answered a hundred queries, and continued to assist in the clarification of my thought even where he did not approve its conclusions. His own Prodigal Father: The Life of John Butler Yeats (1839–1922) was my model for style and scholarship. I have also been lucky in my other colleagues at Union College: Felmon Davis of the Philosophy Department improved the reasoning in the second, third, and fourth chapters; Christie Sorum of the Classics Department urged me to a higher degree of formality


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in the presentation of the first chapter; and Jordan Smith of the English Department, reading the final chapters with the clarity of a poet, found those places where slight changes made for great improvements. Professors Harry Marten and William Thomas scoured the entire manuscript, finding flaws to which I had grown blind. These colleagues—always eager to receive manuscript and quick to return it—were my first readers, and I wrote for their interest and amusement; as they evoked it, the book is partly theirs. Thora Girke, our department secretary, must be mentioned in thanks along with my Union colleagues; without her assistance, we would get little done, and that not competently. Marilyn Schwartz, managing editor of the University of California Press, and Peter Dreyer, the copyeditor, rescued the manuscript from a host of errors; I am grateful that only they know how many.

The Humanities Faculty Development Fund of Union College made research in Ireland possible. The Dana Fund for Summer Research Fellows enabled me to profit from the assistance of my student Joy Runyon, who worked on the bibliography. The staffs of the Huntington Library, the National Library of Ireland, and especially the Union College library lent all necessary assistance. By locating lost titles, purchasing new ones, and borrowing out-of-print volumes from other libraries, David Gerhan, Bruce Connolly, Mary Cahill, Donna Burton, and Maribeth Krupczak made a small college facility serve the functions of a research center.

I am grateful to Colin Smythe for permission to quote from Lady Gregory, to A. P. Watt, Ltd., on behalf of Michael B. Yeats and Macmillan London Limited, for permission to quote from W. B. Yeats, to Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., New York, for permission to use material from the following published works by W. B. Yeats: Explorations (copyright © by Mrs. W. B. Yeats 1962), Autobiography (copyright 1916, 1936 by Macmillan Publishing Company, renewed 1944, 1964 by Bertha Georgie Yeats), and Essays and Introductions (© by Mrs. W. B. Yeats 1961). I also wish to thank George Core for providing space in the Sewanee Review for publication of material that became the first chapter of this book, to Michael B. Yeats


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for providing the drawings by John Butler Yeats and granting permission to reproduce them, to the Board of Directors of the Abbey Theatre for permission to reproduce photographs of the old Abbey and the painting of Annie Horniman, to the National Library of Ireland for reproducing illustrations from its archives. Stationed in Schenectady, with all the illustrative matter in Dublin, I could not have managed at all without the generous assistance of Mr. Yeats, Mr. Martin Fahy of the Abbey, Mr. D. O Luanaigh of the National Library of Ireland, and Dublin photographers Fergus Bourke and Rex Roberts.

Finally, I would acknowledge publicly my debt to my wife, Alison Frazier, whose historical scholarship is an example to me and whose indulgent affection is my support. My children Rufus and Helen deserve the last word: their amused tolerance of their parents' academic pursuits is remarkable.


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