John Millington Synge, the Aran Islands, and His Influences: A Short Study (Maunsel Irish Studies)


MacGuire, James


James MacGuire lives in New York City with the sublime Michelle Coppedge. He is the U.S. managing editor of the Catholic Herald and a contributing editor to Quest. He has worked at major media companies, including Time Inc., Macmillan, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; been a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the Center for Social Thought; and taught at Johns Hopkins University, Cambridge University, and The Sheen Center. MacGuire’s work has been published in dozens of national magazines. He is the author or co-author of fifteen books.

John Millington Synge, who along with William Butler Yeats and Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory spearheaded the Irish Literary Revival of the early twentieth century, was chiefly inspired by the four trips he took to the Aran Islands in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Synge was born into a prominent, if fading, landholding family of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy. After taking his degree at Trinity College, Dublin, he used his modest income to live in Europe in hopes of becoming a writer. His life took a decisive turn in Paris, where he met Yeats, who urged him to visit the Aran Islands – rocky, Irish-speaking outposts off the coast of Galway, and there “find a life that he has never found expression.” Synge’s resulting visits and the highly charged poetic language that flowed from them in prose, verse and, most of all, drama, changed the course of Irish and world literature. James MacGuire examines Synge’s background and early life, recounts the origins of the Irish Literary Revival, and compares and contrasts Synge’s writing on the Aran Islands with earlier and later accounts. This study also examines Synge’s work using Thomas Hardy as a contemporary point of reference in rural literature as well as Synge’s influence on later Irish dramatists, including Sean O’Casey, Eugene O’Neill, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, and, in the twenty-first century, Conor McPherson, Martin McDonagh, and Mikel Murfi. The book concludes with an appreciation of Synge’s continuing influence on Irish literature and Irish nationalism generally.

Literature, Humanities, Ireland, Irish Literature, European Studies, Cultural Studies, Twentieth Century Literature, Irish Literary Revival, John Millington Synge
Release Date: 
May 15, 2024
9781680532982 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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