Metempsychosis: or A Mad World. A Play in One Act
Thomas MacDonagh's second play Metempsychosis (1912)
First printed in The Irish Review, the play is a satire of theosophy and occultism. It was first performed on 18,19, 20 April 1912 by the Theatre of Ireland, a company formed in 1906 from a number of intellectuals and practitioners dissatisfied with the Abbey Theatre aesthetic and including Padraic Colum, P.H. Pearse, and Edward Martyn among others. Critics often focus on the main character Earl Winton-Winton de Winton who provides a unmerciful caricature of W.B. Yeats. However, Norstedt notes how the other character ‘Stranger’ is also satirized and argues that the ‘Stranger could be seen as a parody of MacDonagh’s initial reverence for Yeats (later regretted) and of MacDonagh’s own ideas of immortality expressed in some of his poems. White also notes how the play was misinterpreted as a serious comment on the topic of transmigration of souls.
MacDonagh, Thomas. “Metempsychosis: or A Mad World. A Play in One Act” The Irish Review. February 1912. 585-599. Print.
Nolan, Jerry. ‘Edward Martyn’s Struggle for an Irish National Theater, 1899-1920’. New Hibernia Review. Vol. 7, N. 2, Samhradh/Summer 2003. Print.
Norstedt, Johann A.. Thomas MacDonagh. A Critical Biography. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980. Print.
White, Lawrence William. "MacDonagh, Thomas". Dictionary of Irish Biography. (Ed.) James McGuire, James Quinn. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Web.
Text Item Type Metadata
- Date Added
- May 23, 2015
- The Literary Career of Thomas MacDonagh
- Item Type
- Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916), “Metempsychosis: or A Mad World. A Play in One Act,” Revival to Revolution: The Literary Career of Thomas MacDonagh, accessed September 19, 2020, https://revival2revolution.omeka.net/items/show/4.