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Description - The Aran Islands by J. M. Synge

First published in 1907, this is a record of Synge's visit to the three islands off Galway in the west of Ireland in 1898-1901. The visit to the islands was at the recommendation of Yeats. It was not until Synge's first visits that Aran recovered some of its mystic status that it had enjoyed in previous centuries. The islanders found themselves viewed as the Celtic soul of Ireland. The living culture of Aran was seen as a repository of venerable antiquities. Synge listened to the islanders folktales and anecdotes, many of which he used for his play "the Playboy of the Western World". The book is in four parts, corresponding to the first four of his five visits and is an exploration of an island community living a traditional life, but with modern life beginning to invade.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140184327
ISBN-10: 0140184325
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 12mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Penguin Classics
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 15-Jun-1992
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - J. M. Synge

John Millington Synge was born in 1871 of an old Anglo-Irish family. Due to ill-health he was educated mainly by private tutors before studying at Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He went to Germany to continue his musical studies in 1893 and then, turning to literature, moved to Paris in 1895. There he met W.B. Yeats, who suggested he go to the Aran Islands to live with the islanders as one of themselves and to -express a life that has never found expression.- He spent a few weeks on the islands each year from 1898 to 1902. The Aran Islands did not appear until 1907, but it was his experiences in Aran that gave him the plots of his plays In the Shadow of the Glen (1903), The Riders to the Sea (1904) and The Well of the Saints (1905). His emergence as a playwright coincided with and furthered the Irish dramatic revival. He was first a literary adviser and then a director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, where the first performances of his plays provoked violent controversies. His most famous work, The Playboy of the Western World, which was suggested by an anecdote he had heard in Aran, unleashed a riot in the theater at its first performance in 1907. Synge was in love with the young actress, Molly Allgood, who played the principal female role in this play, and it was she who inspired his play Deirdre of the Sorrows, left unfinished at his early death in 1909. Another of his earlier plays, The Tinker's Wedding, had been regarded both by Synge and Yeats as too dangerous to put on in Dublin, and it was not seen there until 1971. Tim Robinson was born in England in 1935, studied mathematics at Cambridge and taught the subject in Turkey. He then worked as a visual artist under the name of Timothy Drever, first in Vienna and later in London, where there were several exhibitions of his abstract paintings and environmental installations in the 1960s. In 1972 he went to live in the Aran Islands, and began writing and making maps. He now lives in Roundstone, Connemara, where he and his wife run the Folding Landscapes studio, which publihses his maps and related writings on the west of Ireland.

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