Complete Plays

ISBN-10: 039470178X
ISBN-13: 9780394701783
Edition: N/A
Authors: John M. Synge
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Description: This volume includes the complete texts of all the plays by J.M. Synge. Produced at the Abbey Theater which Synge founded. Represents one of the major dramatic achievements of the 20th century.

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Book details

List price: $12.00
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 8/12/1960
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 4.50" wide x 7.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.506
Language: English

This volume includes the complete texts of all the plays by J.M. Synge. Produced at the Abbey Theater which Synge founded. Represents one of the major dramatic achievements of the 20th century.

After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, Synge left for Europe to write poetry. If W. B. Yeats had not discovered him in Paris and persuaded him to return to Ireland and absorb its native traditions, the Irish renaissance might have lost its best playwright. As it was, Synge's poetry of Celtic romanticism was rather more tempered with a European realism than Yeats and his renaissance had anticipated. Yeats sent Synge to the West of Ireland to get to know the peasants there. The result was, in addition to the journal The Aran Islands (1907), two short plays for the Abbey: The Shadow of the Glen (1903), in which a comic resurrection interrupts a widow's marriage bargaining, and Riders to the Sea (1904), about a mother's loss of her last son, a perfect condensed tragedy and probably the finest one-act play. The poorly received The Well of the Saints (1905), whose characters vehemently reject reality for comfortable illusion, offered the Abbey audience a warning of what was to come. This was Synge's masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World (1907), which touched off rioting at the theater. The playboy is Christy Mahon, a lout who becomes a hero among the Mayo peasantry when he boasts he has murdered his father. Satire on Irish romanticism conceals a parable of the poet's development and estrangement from his public. But Dublin nationalists heard only the people slandered, and Dublin prudery heard only the forbidden word "shifts" on Christy's lips. Playboy was the last play Synge saw staged. He died of cancer at age 37, never having completed Deirdre of the Sorrows (1910), his only work in the Celtic legendary mode.

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