Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Ormond manor

Ormond manor. Aging Tudor mansion in Ireland that the English expatriates Basil Stoke and Cyril Poges are renovating. The house is represented by its “great room” which, massive and venerable, becomes progressively more battered as the play progresses. It has a hole in the ceiling, through which a yellow-bearded workman sticks his head at a comic moment. At another moment, a cow causes havoc when it tries to enter through the front door. However, the workmen have difficulty getting an antique bureau through the same door, damaging both it and the bureau in the process. Meanwhile, Poges knocks a hole in the wall with a large garden roller. The deterioration of the great hall is an obvious metaphor for the collapse of the foolish dreams of the house’s English owners.

Clune na Geera

Clune na Geera (cloon naw GEAR-ah). Irish parish in which Ormand Manor is located. Clune na Geera is a provincial region with a strong personality of its own, which is expressed in its residents’ skeptical attitude toward outsiders. Though offering a backdrop of natural beauty where the work party’s foreman, Jack O’Killigain, and Avril can go on romantic horseback rides, its workmen are individualists who cannot be rushed and often seem perversely determined to ignore instructions. Its parish priest is harshly antimodern but pragmatically willing to accept generous donations from men like Stoke, whose lavish way of...

(The entire section is 452 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Benstock, Bernard. Paycocks and Others: Sean O’Casey’s World. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1976. A comprehensive thematic survey of all of O’Casey’s works. Establishes the place of Purple Dust in O’Casey’s development and connects it to the rest of the playwright’s output. Discusses the play’s contributions to O’Casey’s concept of the hero.

Kosok, Heinz. O’Casey the Dramatist. Translated by Heinz Kosok and Joseph T. Swann. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1985. The chapter on Purple Dust opens with a succinct treatment of the play’s different texts. There are also notes on various productions. Concentrates on the interplay of satire, farce, and other comic elements in Purple Dust.

Krause, David. Sean O’Casey: The Man and His Work. New York: Macmillan, 1960. A comprehensive treatment of O’Casey from a biographical and critical point of view. Purple Dust is said to inaugurate the tone of O’Casey’s later plays.

O’Casey, Sean. “Purple Dust in Their Eyes.” In Under a Colored Cap. New York: Macmillan, 1963. A critical response to reviews of the 1962 London production of Purple Dust. The essay considers the play’s political aspects and argues for their relevance to the playwright’s vision.

O’Riordan, John. A Guide to O’Casey’s Plays. New York: Macmillan, 1984. An exhaustive treatment of O’Casey’s plays, covering all twenty-three of the playwright’s major and minor works, with notes on production histories. Literary sources for Purple Dust are assessed, and its intellectual underpinnings considered.