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T. C. Murray (Thomas Cornelius Murray) Biography

(1873–1959), (Thomas Cornelius Murray), Wheel of Fortune, Birthright, Maurice Harte, Spring, Aftermath, Autumn Fire, Michaelmas Eve

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mr Polly to New France

Irish playwright, born in Co. Cork, educated at St Patrick's Teacher Training College, Dublin, where he also taught. Murray became a leading writer with the Abbey Theatre Company. His first play, Wheel of Fortune (1909), a comedy, was produced at the Cork Little Theatre which Murray had founded with Con O'Leary, Terence MacSwiney, and Daniel Corkery. His plays Birthright (1910), Maurice Harte (1912), and Spring (1918) reflect rural Ireland's fear of disinheritance, poverty, and social disgrace. Murray's work, set in rural Cork, is realistic and concentrates upon the frustration caused by social and religious pressures. For the characters in plays such as Aftermath (1922), Autumn Fire (1924), and Michaelmas Eve (1932) there appears to be no choice but to conform to these pressures, a potent symbol of which are incompatible but ‘necessary’ marriages between young women and older men with money. Murray's intense religiosity is reflected in the dark and fatalistic tone of his plays.

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