Reader's Encyclopedia

Synge, John Millington (1871-1909)

Irish dramatist. Synge's tragically brief career established him as the foremost dramatist of the IRISH RENAISSANCE. He began his career by settling in France, where he spent most of his time translating poetry or MALLARMÒ and other French SYMBOLISTS. Here he met William Butler Yeats, who persuaded him to return to the Irish countryside, where the peasants' speech still exhibited vigorous, exuberant, poetic qualities unmatched elsewhere in the world. Synge followed Yeats' advice with the result that he claimed his plays amounted to literal transcriptions of the language of western Ireland's peasants. His plays include In the Shadow of the Glen (1903); Riders to the Sea (1904), a one-act tragedy which achieves an almost Aeschylean starkness and grandeur; The Well of the Saints (1905); PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, generally regarded as his masterpiece; The Tinker's Wedding (1907); and the nearly completed Deidre of the Sorrows (1910), one of the most distinguished recreations of Irish myth of the Celtic Revival.

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