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Dancing at Lughnasa Paperback – 21 May 1990

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (21 May 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571144799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571144792
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 0.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"There is no doubting we are in the thrall of as masterly a dramatist as the theatre possesses." --"The Times"


There is no doubting we are in the thrall of as masterly a dramatist as the theatre possesses. "The Times""

Book Description

In Dancing at Lughnasa, Brian Friel brilliantly evokes not simply a family trapped in their domestic situation, but the wider landscape, interior and exterior, Christian and pagan, of which they are a part.

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Format: Paperback
Set in Donegal in 1936, during Ireland's change from an agrarian to a more industrial economy, Brian Friel's haunting ensemble drama of five sisters and their priest brother reveals the economic, social, and religious pressures in the rural community of Ballybeg on the eve of the harvest festival of Lughnasa. Forty-ish Kate, who sees herself "in charge," is the only real wage earner in the family. Rigid, severe, and completely lacking in humor, she believes pagan celebrations, such as Lughnasa, which provide fun and enjoyment in the countryside, are "uncivilized." Her brother Jack, however, a priest on furlough from work in Uganda, is now virtually a pagan himself. His work has shown him the need of the poor for happiness, dancing, and community celebration, even if it is not church-sanctioned.
The other Mundy sisters help illustrate the chasm between Kate's attitudes and those of Fr. Jack. Maggie, the fun-loving, free-spirited, and most humorous of the sisters, constantly bursts into song and dance and longs to go to the town dance. Christina feels no shame whatever about her love-child and thoroughly enjoys the summer visit of his father, Gerry Evans, with whom she dances spontaneously. Aggie and Rose, who earn small wages knitting gloves, work tirelessly as the family's sad, "unpaid servants," constantly chafing against Kate's imposition of her own values on them. Rose, described as "simple," is in love with a married man and sneaks out to have fun with him. When the local priest fails to rehire Kate because of Fr. Jack's apparent paganism, the family is devastated, but it is at that moment that they recognize the need to celebrate life itself.
The narrator is Michael, Christina's love-child, now in his fifties, who sets the scene and comments on the action throughout.
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Format: Paperback
I discovered Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa through my Theatre Studies A Level course, as it was one of my set texts and I could write scores of essays on it's merits but that wouldn't do it justice. I don't think anyone can realise the true beauty of the writing and of the play itself unless they read the text or see a production of the play for themselves. Good as it may be, the film version cannot hold a candle to this superb play.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm teaching Dancing at Lughnasa at the moment, and every time I do it reminds me that this is a play that is easy to read, fairly easy to absorb, but quite challenging to understand fully. This is a good quality Kindle text of Brian Friel's play, and it's especially nice to see that the pagination of this text very closely matches the printed Faber version that you're probably using for A level.

the review of the print version probably gives you most of the detail you need to know about the play itself-but just some thoughts: read and reread Michaels monologues really carefully-but only they are very unusual dramatic device (not unique though) but they highlight and foreground the play's key theme, which the me is memory. Michael's memory of his childhood runs parallel to the audience's memory of the idyllic innocence of 1930s song popularised the British audiences probably most memorably by the TV series Pennies From Heaven. Don't forget the dramatic irony that the audience knows that this limited, provisional idyll is doomed as the war which comes in 1939 will physically pass neutral Ireland by, but change everything in its path otherwise. Make sure you read the article on the play in the Cambridge Companion to Brian Friel. Good luck!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have seen the stage play three times and did not bother with the movie. To understand a very small but an important part of Irish history everyone should read this. It far removed from the Celtic Tiger economy that one thinks about. Real history, real hardship and family life in rural Ireland, its all here.
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I needed this book as part of my studies (I'm studying for an OU English Lit degree), and was very satisfied with this version of the book. It's a play set in the early twentieth century that features four fictional Irish sisters and the sometime boyfriend of one of them, who drops by every now and then and who has fathered a son by one of them. The adult son is the narrator of the story, about his childhood in the cottage in a small Irish village, where money is scarce and the sisters are both affected by social immobility and the difficulty of making a living. The inertia is illustrated here by the upcoming dance, and the fact that the sisters will never attend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is the book of a very famous Play, Dancing At Lughnasa.

For me, there is NOTHING to compare with seeing the Play in person. It is a very specific medium. So, this book is not like a book of fiction or a biography. Speaking personally, it would be hard for me to visualise the interactions, which are totally delightful, from reading this book alone.

So, when you open the book, you see the dialogue between the characters.

I believe the movie, starring Meryl Streep, which I have not seen, is different. Much would be lost from Stage to screen.

I would recommend this book to anyone about to see the Play or to anyone who has seen the Play.
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