Cathleen Ni Houlihan
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Cathleen Ni Houlihan

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  294 ratings  ·  11 reviews
THIS 20 PAGE ARTICLE WAS EXTRACTED FROM THE BOOK: Representative British Dramas Victorian and Modern V2, by William Butler Yeats. To purchase the entire book, please order ISBN 1419176080.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1902)
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Josh Belville
One of the first things I noticed while reading Cathleen ni Houlihan is how much it resembles a Japanese noh play. "That's quite a lofty thought," I said to myself, "but it's okay because you're a grad student." Here you have characters who are joined by the shite, the Old Woman, who, by being there and imparting her wisdom, changes this household for good. So quickly, too, and by speaking of Ireland's history. And you could say that Michael is the waki, and is "travelling" to his marriage (so t...more
I read this while putting together an exhibit on Irish Literature relating to the 1916 Easter Rising for my Rare Books seminar last semester. It's a tiny play, but really good. It's exactly what I want out of Irish literature - nationalistic, proud, sad, and poignant. Plus, Maud Gonne played Cathleen when it first opened, and I just love the whole unrequited love thing Yeats had with her.
Sometimes I forget how multifaceted Yeats is. I also forget how sinister some of his mysticism can be.

This short play is based in 1798 in Ireland when the French arrived to help the Irish with their rebellion. Cathleen Ni Houlihan is a mystical old woman who appears in the house of a family preparing for their son's marriage. By the end of the play Cathleen convinces Michael (the groom) to leave the house to meet the French.

Yeats' nationalism abounds in this play. I loved our class discussion ab...more
An old woman arrives at an Irish family's home as they are making preparations for the marriage of their oldest son. She tells the family her sad tale of Irish heroes who have given their lives for her. She ultimately lures the groom away to join the Irish rebellion of 1798.

This is very interesting from a historical standpoint. It helped spread Irish nationalism and may have contributed to the 1916 Easter Rising. I also found it interesting how Yeats and Lady Gregory used folklore in the play. G...more
Can I possibly love Yeats more? Yes, because he was smart enough to work with Augusta Gregory! This play is gorgeous and, as Zan says, multi-faceted.

I love that they together created the new face for the spirit of Ireland. I love Henry Merritt's analysis which sees Cathleen as a vampire. Wow!
Maureen Kudlik
The battle cry for any Irish Revival artist/follower. Produces a love for Ireland and introduces Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan who becomes the symbol for Ireland, herself. Moving, powerful and written for the Abbey Theatre.
Ah, Willie, thanks for a great read.

I still think this play should be performed in front of the Business Department building (the old English Department building).

Enjoyed it even though proper historical backgroud is needed to understand it
Angela Alcorn
We really own this as part of an omnibus: 0140480544
Everett Darling
Cathleen H. Christ, what a fantastic play.
Apr 12, 2008 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: class

anglo-irish lit (dublin)
senior thesis
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William Butler Yeats (pronounced /ˈjeɪts/) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, se...more
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The Collected Poems Irish Fairy and Folk Tales Selected Poems Poetry, Drama and Prose Selected Poems and Four Plays

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“It is a hard service they take that help me. Many that are red-cheeked now will be pale-cheeked; many that have been free to walk the hills and the bogs and the rushes will be sent to walk hard streets in far countries; many a good plan will be broken; many that have gathered money will not stay to spend it; many a child will be born, and there will be no father at its christening to give it a name. They that had red cheeks will have pale cheeks for my sake; and for all that, they will think they are well paid.” 4 likes
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