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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Translation and adaptation have long had a distinctive visibility on the Irish stage, with the translator as much to the fore as the original playwright in the ascription of authorship. Two contemporary Irish playwrights have had careers to some extent defined by their sustained engagement with non-English-language writers: Friel with Chekhov, and McGuinness with Ibsen. As Friel does not know Russian, nor McGuinness Norwegian, what is being done is adaptation, not translation. It was Thomas Kilroy who initiated this tradition of Irish ‘versions’ with The Seagull in1981. However, these writers are not unique, and distinctively Irish translations have extended to Greek tragedy, with versions of Antigone becoming important in Irish theatre culture, particularly during the Troubles in the 1980s. This chapter considers what is distinctive about Irish adaptations/translations of foreign works and the reasons for their international success.

Keywords: Friel, Chekhov, McGuinness, Ibsen, Kilroy, The Seagull, Antigone

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