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Brian Friel: a poet of divided loyalties

Known as the Irish Chekov, Brian Friel wrote masterful plays about his country's troubles

By Michael Coveney  
Brian Friel, who has died aged 86, with a painting of him by Mick O'Dea

Brian Friel, who has died aged 86, with a painting of him by Mick O'Dea © PA

Extravagant tributes have been paid, rightly, to Brian Friel, the Irish Chekhov, who died aged 86 on the morning of 2nd October. But it’s worth remembering that he was an outcast for years—as was Sean O’Casey—from his own theatre in Dublin, and made his reputation first as a fiction writer for the New Yorker and then as a playwright…

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