John McCann

Quotations

Life
1905-1980; b. Dublin, 17 June; ed. Christian Brothers of Synge Street; worked as journalist and wrote plays for Radio Éireann and later, The Abbey Theatre; elected Dáil TD, 1939; Dublin Lord Mayor, 1946-47; lost Dáil seat 1954. DIW DIL OCIL

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Works
Plays, The Dreamer (1930);Twenty Years A-Wooing: A Comedy in Three Acts (Dublin: James Duffy 1954; rep. 1970); Early and Often (Dublin: P. J. Bourke 1956); Give me a Bed of Roses (1957); I Know Where I’m Going (Naas: Printed for the author by Leinster Leader 1965).

Miscellaneous, War by the Irish (Tralee: Kerryman [1946]), 211pp.[historical memoir]. QRY: A Jew Called Sammy (1962); Put a Beggar on Horseback

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Commentary
Christopher Morash writes: ‘John McCann’s trilogy - Twenty Years a-Wooing (1954), Give me a Bed of Roses (1957) and Put a Beggar on Horseback (1961) - were as beloved by audiences as they were reviled by critics, with John Jordan calling them “witless, meretricious, and fundamentally dishonest entertainments” [...].’ (A History of Irish Theatre 1601-2000, Cambridge UP 2002, p.215.)

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References
Robert Hogan
, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979), cites Blood is Thicker than Water (1955), Early and Often (1956) and Give Me a Bed of Roses (1957) as great box-office successes for Abbey at Queen’s Theatre; Hogan describes them as conventional in plot and theme, dealing with genial impressions of lower middle class Dublin and their practical problems; calls Early and Often, a study of political machinations, his best and compares it with plays by William Boyle, Edward McNulty and John MacDonagh.

Hyland Catalogue (Oct. 1996) lists War by the Irish (1st edn. 1946).

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