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Irish Drama and the Other RevolutionsPlaywrights, Sexual Politics, and the International Left, 1892-1964$
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Susan Cannon Harris

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424462

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424462.001.0001

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Epilogue: What the Irish Left – Sean O’casey, Samuel Beckett and Lorraine Hansberry’s the Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window

Epilogue: What the Irish Left – Sean O’casey, Samuel Beckett and Lorraine Hansberry’s the Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window

Chapter:
(p.213) Epilogue: What the Irish Left – Sean O’casey, Samuel Beckett and Lorraine Hansberry’s the Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
Source:
Irish Drama and the Other Revolutions
Author(s):

Susan Cannon Harris

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424462.003.0007

The epilogue considers the impact of Irish playwrights on an American left that had been decimated by anti-Communist persecution. Just prior to the 1956 New York premiere of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist Waiting for Godot, O’Casey made his Broadway comeback with the expressionist Lockout play Red Roses For Me. The lesbian African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, whose work engages with both O’Casey and Beckett, suspends the antirealist effects of these two different Irish premieres within her 1964 play The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, which chronicles the crises faced by a group of New York progressives in the aftermath of McCarthyism. Hansberry separates O’Casey and Beckett’s most promising techniques from their masculinist foundations, re-deploying them in order to help Sidney Brustein – and, by extension, the white left – resolve the impasse in which they have been trapped, by abandoning a definition of struggle based on a self-defeating attachment to a heroic masculinity which was never attainable.

Keywords:   Hansberry, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, masculinity, O’Casey, Beckett, absurdism, expressionism, queer, African-American, anti-Communism

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