Date of Award

Spring 1997

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




St. John Ervine was a playwright, novelist, and a journalist whose most productive years were between 1913 and 1940. Louis J. McQuilland calls Ervine "the most successful playwright and novelist Ulster has produced in 'our time (46)." He was born in Northern Ireland but spent most of his career in England. Much of the research says he was a staunch loyalist and very much opposed to Home Rule legislation. At an early point in his career, from November 1915 to July 1916, William Butler Yeats asked him to manage the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, the duties of which included producing and directing. The Abbey was conceived as a national theatre, with the aim to promote Irish culture and theatre separate from that of England. Its members' sympathies were for a free state of Ireland. How did someone with Ervine's political stance, and reportedly acerbic nature, land in the position of managing the Abbey, conceived as a national theatre? This paper seeks to investigate and answer just that question.



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