I BEG to thank the many kinsmen and friends of the late John M. Synge who have kindly helped me in this attempt at a systematic study of his life and writings in their relation to the Irish Theatre at large. With no sinister piratical intention, I have freely tapped all available sources, and placed on record such facts as can be verified, such views as may safely be endorsed. I have thus been enabled to offer a biographical and sociological, rather than a purely literary, interpretation of Synge's life-work. Some of my specific obligations are mentioned in the text or in the footnotes; but, as individual recognition would be somewhat lengthy, and in certain cases against the wishes of my informants, a collective acknowledgment of my indebtedness must here suffice. Moreover, a prefatory display of famous names might possibly raise expectations which I am afraid this book does not fulfil.