Brian Friel: The Gentle Island

(2954 words)

The Gentle Island was Brian Friel’s eighth stage play, and premiered on 30 November 1971 at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. Although initially the play’s subject appears to be familial and parochial – the lives of the sole survivors of a tiny, island community off the west coast of the Irish Republic, and the impact on them of the arrival of two visitors from the mainland – its concerns are much wider. It explores many of the crucial issues affecting contemporaneous Irish culture, not least questions of identity, sexuality and gender, language and authority.

The play was composed during a period of profound political, cultural and economic crisis on the island of Ireland. Its opening scene depicts the imminent …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Parker, Michael. "The Gentle Island". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 September 2008
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]