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Denis Johnson (William Denis Johnson) Biography

(1901–84), (William Denis Johnson), Nine Rivers from Jordan, The Moon in the Yellow River

Irish dramatist, born in Dublin, educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, and the Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Board of the Dublin Gate Theatre (19316). His experiences as war correspondent for the BBC in the Middle East and Europe (19425) are chronicled in Nine Rivers from Jordan (1953). His most celebrated play, The Moon in the Yellow River (1932), produced at the Abbey Theatre in 1931, confronts extreme republicanism in a post-Civil War Ireland. His other plays, which Johnston characterized as ‘in various ways historical’, include The Old Lady Says ‘No’! (1929), A Bride for the Unicorn (1933), The Dreaming Dust (1940), and The Scythe and the Sunset (1958), which is a riposte to O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars (1926). His Collected Plays (2 volumes, 1960) contain informative prefatory remarks. His other books include the highly controversial In Search of Swift (1959); John Millington Synge (1965); and The Brazen Horn (1968; revised edition 1976), a meditative autobiography. He was the father of Jennifer Johnston.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Tama Janowitz Biography to P(atrick) J(oseph Gregory) Kavanagh Biography