Synge and Anglo-Irish Drama

Synge and Anglo-Irish Drama

Synge and Anglo-Irish Drama

Synge and Anglo-Irish Drama

Excerpt

English Literature has been enriched immeasurably by writers who have been born or bred, or have spent an important part of their lives, in countries where English is the main language but which have traditions differing from the specifically English tradition. Of these countries Ireland is perhaps the one which has made the greatest contribution through such writers. This is particularly evident in the writing of the past sixty years, and no thorough understanding of contemporary achievement and trends in the novel, drama and poetry is possible without a study of the works of Joyce, Shaw, O'Casey, Synge and Yeats. Nor, in many respects, is such study neglected; there is already a considerable body of comment and criticism of all kinds on Joyce, Shaw and Yeats; on O'Casey, who is not of their stature and whose work, maybe, is not yet finished, there is accordingly not so much, but on Synge, who died in 1909 and whose writings may be seen in perspective, there is little. It cannot be said that he does not merit further consideration, for Una Ellis-Fermor points out:

In the American and English theatre and university world it has long been recognized that the work of Yeats, Lady Gregory, Synge and the group of men that supported and followed them at the Abbey Theatre must take its place in the world's drama, in that drama which contains already Euripides, Shakespeare and Molière.

Yet this recognition has not resulted in the production of any book devoted to a full treatment of Synge which gives an adequate appreciation and evaluation of his writings. I do not here presume altogether to supply this deficiency. I intend to examine and expound one aspect of Synge's work in the hope that I may thus help towards a fuller understanding of his genius. This aspect is the tension between dream and actuality, and it is central in Synge.

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