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Stewart Parker: A Life


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Table of Contents

Preface List of Illustrations Abbreviations Chronology 1: A British Boyhood 2: Queen's University 3: Intimations of Mortality 4: 'Calling Myself a Writer' 5: Talking About (Cultural) Revolution 6: Back to Belfast 7: Living in Interesting Times 8: A Professional Playwright 9: Suddenly Somebody 10: Dark Night of the Soul 11: Leaps of Faith 12: Fruition 13: Show Business 14: Last Words References

About the Author

Marilynn Richtarik was educated at Harvard University and at Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Her first book, Acting Between the Lines: The Field Day Theatre Company and Irish Cultural Politics 1980-1984, was published by Oxford University Press in 1995. Author of numerous articles on Stewart Parker, Richtarik is recognized as an authority on his work and has written programme notes for productions of his plays in London, Dublin, Belfast, and Washington, DC. Since 1995 she has taught twentieth-century British and Irish literature at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is currently an Associate Professor of English.


`One comes away from reading Richtarik's critical biography with an enormous respect for her subject and herself. Combining perspectives of historian and social critic, along with training as a scholar of literature and theater, Richtarik provides an appreciation of the life and work of an unduly neglected Irish dramatist.' James W. Flannery, Paste Magazine `Marilynn Richtarik has captured her subject admirably, from my perspective as someone who was Stewart's contemporary and friend at Queen's University, Belfast, in the early sixties ... Marilynn Richtarik deserves high praise for writing this book: it is a monument to Stewart Parker's life and work, full of rich insight into both, and at the same time an account of the whole cultural and political matrix in the North during a crucial phase of its history that can hardly be bettered. She deserves our thanks and praise for having written this extraordinary book.' Anthony Bradley, Irish Literary Supplement `a fluent, absorbing biography of the great - and greatly missed - Belfast playwright' Declan Hughes, Irish Sun Independent `As the first book-length consideration of Parker and his work, Richtarik's study is an accomplishment on its own right ... Richtarik's book is an essential addition to the growing interest in Parker and his work ... an extraordinary book that deserves special recognition.' Mathieu W. Billings, New Hibernia Review `Richtarik's map of that life is detailed and clearly the product of years of careful and reflective research It is patently a labour of love, intricately detailed and passionately researched. A boon to Parker aficionados and a foundation text for renewed interest in his drama.' Clare Wallace, Body `Meticulously researched and engagingly written, Richtarik's biography of the stellar Northern Irish playwright, Stewart Parker, does an excellent job of cementing the reputation of a writer who died too young ... this is a welcome and exemplary critical biography of a playwright who clearly deserves the love, skill, and effort [Richtarik] has put into it.' Maureen Hawkins, Estudios Irlandeses `Parker has now been well served by Marilynn Richtarik, whose wonderfully researched and judicious biography emphasizes the diversity and skill of his writing ... a stylish and absorbing volume. Marilynn Richtarik has presented here a defining piece of research about an important literary figure, and her book will play a major part in the revival of interest in Stewart Parker's work.' James Moran, Times Literary Supplement `Meticulously researched and detailed ... this is a valuable contribution to Irish theatre scholarship. It is not a work of theatre criticism, however: it is a vivid, engaging portrait of a talented and charismatic man, and, through his life and work, a portrait of a city in turmoil.' Lisa Fitzpatrick, Times Higher Education `In this book, the American academic Marilynn Richtarik establishes, with exemplary precision and insight, the way the writer emerges, the false starts and disappointments, the experiments that failed ... This is a biography you can trust; it also captures an important chapter of Irish cultural life.' Roy Foster, Irish Times `A new in depth biography by the leading authority on his work ... a fascinating portrait of the man and a rich account of his artistic output.' Paul Harron, Ulster Tatler `Richtarik's timely study reminds us that the work of men and women like Parker gives us a glimpse of a world transformed by the power of one human being's love for another.' Cultural Northern Ireland `This biography by the leading authority on [Parker's] life is exhaustively researched but very readable. Everything you needed to know about Stewart is here.' Neil Donnelly, Belfast Telegraph `Richtarik provides a thorough account of Stewart's rich, short life, adeptly offering historical background that is itself captivating. As for Stewart's works, she offers thorough production histories, solid synopses, and balanced critiques. An excellent resource.' W. W. Demastes, Choice

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