Paul Vincent Carroll


Life
1900-1968, playwright; b. 10 July, Blackrock [Carraig Dubh], nr. Dundalk, Co. Louth, son of teacher who educated him before he entered St Mary’s College, Dundalk, going on to St. Patrick’s Training College, Drumcondra, Dublin, to 1920; entranced by Abbey Theatre; refused to teach ‘under the unbearable clerical yoke’ and settled as teacher in Glasgow, 1921-37; m. Helena Reilly, 1923, with whom three dgs.; retired following success of Shadow and Substance in 1937; writes for Ireland’s Own; lived in England from 1945, writing for television and cinema; dramatic work incls. The Watched Pot (Peacock 1930), one-act experimental play;
 
The Things that Are Caesar’s (Abbey 1932), Things That are Caesar’s (Abbey 1932), an attack on clerical power, and winner of Abbey Award; Coggerers (Abbey 1937, later renamed The Conspirators); Shadow and Substance (Abbey 1937), winner of Casement Award of IAL and NY Drama Critics’ Circle Award; The White Steed (1939), four-act play featuring Canon Skerritt, a character based on Swift; rejected by Abbey and premiered New York, where it won Drama Critics’ Circle Award; Kindred (Abbey 1939, rev. as The Secret Kindred);
 
issues The Strings My Lord Are False (1942); remarried after death of first wife, 1944, with whom a son; The Old Foolishness (1944); The Wise Have Not Spoken (1944); settled in Bromley, Kent; The Chuckeyhead Story (Pavilion, Bournemouth, 1950), rev. as The Border Be Damned (1951), and further revised as The Devil Came from Dublin (John Drew Mem. Th., NY, 1951), a ‘rollicking extravaganza’; wrote for film and tv, his scripts including Saints and Sinners (Korda 1949) and Farewell to Greatness, based on Swift; Green Cars Go East (1951); The Wayward Saint (1955), centred on Canon McCooey; d. 20 Oct., Bromley, Kent [var. London]. IF2 DIB DIW DIL KUN OCIL FDA


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Works
Drama
  • The Watched Pot [unpublished];
  • Things that Are Caesar’s (London: Rich & Cowan 1934);
  • Shadow and Substance: A Play in Four Acts (NY: Random House 1937; London: Macmillan 1938); note also Shadow and Substance (NY [q.pub.] 1939);
  • Plays for Children (NY: Messner 1939);
  • The White Steed [and] Coggerers (NY: Random House 1939) [2 plays];
  • The Old Foolishness (London: Samuel French 1944);
  • Three Plays: The White Steed; Things That are Caesar’s [rev.] (q.d.);
  • The Strings, My Lord, are False (London: Macmillan 1944);
  • The Conspirators (London: Samuel French 1944) [formerly Coggerers];
  • The Wise Have Not Spoken (London: Samuel French 1947);
  • The Wayward Saint (NY: Dramatist Play Service 1955);
  • Irish Stories and Plays (1956) [incls. The Devil Came From Dublin].
Reprints
  • Robert Hogan, ed., Farewell to Greatness (Proscenium 1966);
  • Goodbye to the Summer [formerly Weep for Tomorrow] (Proscenium 1970);
  • We have Ceased to Live, in Robert Hogan, ed., Journal of Irish Literature, 2, 1 (Jan. 1972).
Collected Works
  • Irish Stories, and Plays (NY: Devin-Adair Co. 1958), 278pp. [STORIES: Home Sweet Home [3]; She Went by Gently [13] Dark Glory [22] Maisie Was a Lady [32] The Stepmother [43] My Learned Friend, Hogan [68] Me Da Went Off the Bottle! [76] The Virgin and the Woman [86]. ONE-ACT PLAYS: The Conspirators [109], Beauty is Fled: Interlude [155]; THREE-ACT PLAY, The Devil Came from Dublin [179].

 

 

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Criticism
Studies
  • Paul A. Doyle, Paul Vincent Carroll (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1971).
Articles
  • George Jean Nathan, ‘The Devil Came from Dublin’, in Theatre Arts, 35 (1951), pp.66-67;
  • Ann G. Colman, ‘Paul Vincent Carroll’s View of Irish Life’, in Catholic World, 192 (1960), pp.87-93;
  • Drew B. Pallette, ‘Paul Vincent Carroll: since The White Steed’, in Modern Drama, 7 (1965), pp.375-81;
  • John D. Conway, ‘Satires of Paul Vincent Carroll’, in Eire-Ireland, 8, 3 (1972), pp.12-23;
  • [Robt. Hogan, ed.,] Journal of Irish Literature, ‘A Paul Vincent Carroll Number’ (Jan. 1972);
  • John D. Conway, ‘Paul Vincent Carroll and Theatre in Scotland’, in Eire-Ireland, 12, 4 (1977), pp.125-32;
  • Dawn Duncan, ‘Paul Carroll Vincent’ in Bernice Schrank & William Demastes, ed., Irish Playwrights, 1880-1995: A Research and Production Sourcebook (CT: Greenwood Press 1997), pp.43-56.
See also Robert Hogan, After the Irish Renaissance (Minn. 1967), pp.52-63, and D. E. S. Maxwell, Modern Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 1980) [infra].

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Commentary
D. E. S. Maxwell, Modern Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 1980): The White Steed rejected by the Abbey in 1938 for fear of offending the clergy (p.135). Further, ‘In the line of descent from Colum and Murray, looking at his new Ireland as did they, theirs changing, his consolidating post-revolutionary orthodoxies. [...] The White Steed has scenes of an ugly intensity, bringing to life the passionate contentions of the characters [...] Fr. Shaughnessy, without rant, has a sinister credulity [...] The disappointment is that Carroll does not realise the latent suggestiveness of these figures in the Europe of 1939.’ (Ibid., p.139.)

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References
George J. Nathan, ed., Five Great Modern Irish Plays (NY: Modern Library [n.d.]), prints “Shadow and Substance”, with “The Playboy of the Western World” (Synge); “Juno and the Paycock” (O'Casey); “Riders to the Sea” (Synge), and “Spreading the News” (Lady Gregory).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 3, selects Shadow and Substance [191-200]; 174 [Introduction, ed. Terence Brown gives account of Things That Are Caesar’s [an Irish Doll’s House] and Shadows and Substance [reality discovering its own limitations]; transcends Yeats’s “external reality”; in modelling his parish priest Canon Skerritt on Jonathan Swift, Carroll wished - in his own words - to make Swift ‘not only a Catholic but a learned interpreter of Catholicism, and throw him into the modern mental turmoil in Ireland’; the play concerns a quarrel between the Canon and the schoolmaster, Dermot Francis O’Flingsby, author of an anti-clerical book, who is being hounded from his post by the jealous teaching colleague, the Canon’s niece Thomasina Concannon, in cahoots with Francis Ignatius O’Connor, a newly trained teacher whom she will marry, and some Ibsenite local bigots; Brigdet, the saintly servant girl, has conversations with St. Brigid, and eventually dies; epigraph, Keats, “Oh, what power has white Simplicity”’, 175; BIOG 232 [as above].

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Quotations
Ibsen & Synge: ‘Ibsen took a sure and disciplined hand in my development and the addition of Synge, whose work taught me colour and rhythm, I began to visualise more sanely the strengths and weaknesses of human characters’ (Quoted in Doyle’s Paul Vincent Carroll (Bucknell UP 1971), p.19.

The White Steed (1939): [on Ireland]: ‘There is something here that is nowhere else. It’s away far back and away deep down. A man going down a moonlit road from a fair may know it, or a child reading on a broken sill of Niam or Aideen or Maeve. but they will tell you no name for it. They will look away from you and the tears will come with a sudden rush but the cry is within them forever, and neither money nor mating will make them happy.’ (Quoted in Lawrence Osborne, ‘Dreaming Shamrocks: The Use of Being Irish’, in The Village Voice, 3 June 2008; available online - accessed 29.03.2011.)

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