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Lennox Robinson Biography

(1886–1958), The Clancy Name, The Whiteheaded Boy, Crabbed Youth and Age, The Lost Leader

Irish playwright and theatre director, born in Douglas, Co. Cork, the son of a Church of Ireland clergyman, and educated at Bandon Grammer School. After the popular success of his first play, The Clancy Name (1908), he was invited by W. B. Yeats to manage the Abbey Theatre, a position he held from 1910 to 1914 and then from 1919 to 1923, subsequently serving as an influential member of the theatre's board of directors until 1956. His popular comedies The Whiteheaded Boy (1916) and Crabbed Youth and Age (1922) helped the Abbey during an extended period of financial difficulty. In The Lost Leader (1918) and The Big House (1926) he showed that he was also capable of tackling more serious themes arising from Irish political life. Following The Far-Off Hills (1928), Robinson returned to lighthearted comedy with Drama at Inish (1933; retitled Is Life Worth Living?), a play which is a pragmatic portrayal of middle-class rural life appealing to the insularity of Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s. Perhaps Robinson's greatest contribution was as a director and theatrical mentor. Having founded the Dublin Drama League in 1919, he helped bring the experimentations of Realism and Expressionism to the Irish stage; he has also been accredited with discovering Sean O'Casey.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Rhode to Jack [Morris] Rosenthal Biography