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Eugene McCabe Biography

(1930– ), King of the Castle, Breakdown, Swift, Cancer, Heritage, Death and Nightingales, Christ in the Fields

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography

Irish playwright and fiction writer, born in Glasgow, educated at University College, Cork. He ran his family's dairy farm in Co. Monaghan for ten years and has subsequently become one of Ireland's most talented, but least prolific, playwrights. King of the Castle (1964), his powerfully realistic play about the corrupting effects of wealth in rural Ireland, won the first Irish Life Drama Award. This was followed by the unremarkable Breakdown (1966) and Swift (1969); it was not until Cancer in 1976, a trilogy of plays for television, that McCabe regained both critical and popular attention. He published the ‘Victims’ section of this trilogy as a novel in 1977; ‘Cancer’ and ‘Heritage’ appeared as short stories in Heritage (1977). McCabe's novel Death and Nightingales (1992), set in rural Ireland in 1883, with Parnell in the ascendancy, offers a disquieting evocation of the violence of rural existence and a sense of foreboding about Ireland's future. Christ in the Fields (1993), a trilogy of novellas, explores the impasse between Protestant and Catholic cultures and identities.

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