The Playboy of the Western World and Other Plays by J. M. Synge
(The Complete Plays of J. M. Synge)

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Edmund John Millington Synge (1871-1909), an Irish poet, playwright and prose writer, was also one of the cofounders of the storied Abbey Theatre. Synge was known as a strange and enigmatic man, quiet and reserved, not even understood by his own family members. After graduating from school, Synge decided to pursue music, but his shy nature prevented him from performing, causing him to turn to literature as a creative outlet. When it opened at the Abbey Theatre in 1907, his most acclaimed play, "The Playboy of the Western World", met rioting and chaos, as it garnered a very hostile reaction from the Irish public. Arthur Griffith, an Irish nationalist, described the play as "a vile and inhuman story told in the foulest language we have ever listened to from a public platform." Synge suffered from Hodgkin's disease, and died shortly before his 38th birthday. This collection includes: "The Playboy of the Western World", "Riders To The Sea", "In The Shadow Of The Glen", "The Tinker's Wedding", "Deirdre Of The Sor

About J. M. Synge

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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.Edna O'Brien is the internationally-acclaimed author of 18 books including Down by the River, The House of Splendid Isolation, Mother Ireland, The Country Girls Trilogy, and A Fanatic Heart (all available from Plume). Born and raised in Ireland, she lives in London.
Published March 7, 2006 by Signet Classic. 125 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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