Until his death in 1944, Holloway attended almost every performance of the Abbey Theatre and daily recorded in his journal his reactions to plays and players and his comments about and conversations with literary and theatrical people. From the journal’s 221 bulky volumes, housed in the National Library of Ireland, Mr. Hogan and Mr. O’Neill have compiled this book of extracts from the approximately 25,000,000 words written by the Irishman. The years from 1899 to 1926 were chosen because they are generally considered to be the significant ones for the Abbey Theatre: the year of its founding to the production of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, which caused a riot in the theatre. Mr. Holloway attended every play during these years, as well as many rehearsals, and talked with nearly everybody who had anything to do with the theatre. This journal reflects the tensions, feuds, and anguish that produced one of the great theatres of modern times.
The meticulous display of minute detail makes Joseph Holloway’s Abbey Theatre imperative reading for the student of modern theatre, particularly since its character as a daily account permits ready checking of dates listed in previous works about the Irish National Theatre.