Abstract

O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night has had a palpable influence on subsequent Irish plays by artists as different as Tom Murphy (A Whistle in the Dark) and Brian Friel (Faith Healer). Its obsession with fog and foghorns is a leitmotif through Behan's The Quare Fellow. But the prevailing metaphor of a fog people, doomed to stammer a broken poetry ever since they lost their lives in the Unconscious of the underwater world and were cast up gasping on land, has also powerfully inspired Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill's poetic sequence The Fifty-Minute Mermaid. In a similar way, the depiction of a property-hungry, frustrated paterfamilias in the Moran of McGahern's Amongst Women is hugely indebted to the figure of James Tyrone. The various phases of Irish history, Anglo-Irish and mere Irish, are condensed into the story of the Tyrone family—and the influence of the famous play extends across all literary genres of recent Irish writing, not drama alone.

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