The Folk Element in the Plays of John Millington Synge

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literature, plays, playwriting, John Millington Synge, folklore, Irish dramatic movement


Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Playwriting | Theatre and Performance Studies


I first developed an interest in the Irish dramatic movement while taking a class in Irish literature during the Interim of 1971. Of the many men and women who were involved in this movement, I found the playwright John Millington Synge to be an especially fascinating figure.

After his graduation from Trinity College, Dublin, Synge turned his back on what was to become his literary material, and left Ireland for the continent, where he first pursued a career as a musician and then drifted into literary criticism. He had no success in either of these fields, and, when he met William Butler Yeats in Paris in 1896, he followed Yeats' advice that he return to his native land and make the life of the Irish peasant the subject of his writings. From Synge's subsequent immersion in the life of the Irish people there resulted six plays which were based on folklore which he had collected while traveling in various parts of Ireland and on the Anglo-Irish peasant speech which he had heard during these travels.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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