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Boucicault-O’Casey-Hansberry: Tracing a Line of Influence

Moran, James

Boucicault-O’Casey-Hansberry: Tracing  a Line of Influence Thumbnail


Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama


In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway after a successful tour. This remarkable performance featured a black cast, and staged a generation that was beginning to find intellectual sources of race pride. By contrast, exactly one hundred years earlier, in 1859, the 'great dramatic "sensation"' of the New York stage had been Dion Boucicault's The Octoroon, a play set on a plantation and which describes blackness as shameful. In form and in subject matter these two plays appear to have little in common, but this essay traces a connection between the two. The connection is this: the Irish playwright Sean O'Casey felt inspired by reading and performing the work of Boucicault, and, in turn, O'Casey provided a 'point of departure' for Hansberry when she scripted her best-known play. By examining these points of connection, the essay examines a significant if counter-intuitive line of influence.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 21, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Jul 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2022
Journal Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film
Print ISSN 1748-3727
Electronic ISSN 2048-2906
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 2
Pages 165–181
Keywords General Medicine
Public URL
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