Seamus De Burca

Life
1912- [James Bourke]; b. Dublin, son of Patrick Bourke, actor-playwright and director of theatrical costumiers in Dublin; uncle of Brendan Behan. plays include adaptation of Kickham’s Knockagow (1944); Thomas Davis (1948); Limpid River (Gate Theatre, 11 June 1956); Mrs. Howard’s Husband (16 Feb. 1959); The Boys and Girls are Gone (1961); also a novel, Limpid River (1962), and a biography of the author of the Irish national anthem, his uncle Peadar Kearney (1957). DIW DIL OCIL

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Works
[Robert Hogan, ed.,] ‘A Bourke/De Burca Double Number’, in Journal of Irish Literature, 2 & 3 (Jan.-May 1984) [incl. Northern Insurgents: A Romantic Irish Drama of Ulster in 1798, pp.7-74, Handy Andy: A Play in 3 Acts, adpt. from Samuel Lover, pp.87-140; also and Kurt Jacobsen, interview with Seamus de Burca].

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References
Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979): born James Bourke; cites droll and savage The Howards (1960), and The End of Mrs. Oblong (1968), a rambling imitation of Behan. Also an adaptation of Handy Andy (Lover), unproduced. Remarks, ‘Slovenly and long-winded on paper, but splendidly theatrical on stage.’

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Notes
Cheryl Herr dedicated For the Land They Loved (Syracuse Press 1991) to him ‘and others who do not fear to speak of ‘98’, calling him ‘a national resource of the highest order’. See similar comments in Stephen Watts, Joyce, O’Casey, and the Popular Irish Theater (Syracuse UP 1991).

Variants: The Howards, cited thus in Dictionary of Irish Literature (1979), is listed as Mrs. Howard’s Husband in Dictionary of Irish Writers (1988), while Robert Hogan, ed., Seven Irish Plays (Minnesota UP 1967), ‘Introduction’, also cites The Howards with a production date (16 Feb. 1959). Ireland in Fiction (Pt. 2) omits Limpid River.

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