J. M. Synge and the Western Mind
21.6 x 13.8 cm Irish Literary Studies series 4
Professor Thornton’s book calls into question the ideas generally held by critics of Synge that the religious milieu he was reared in had slight influence upon him, that his relationships with his family were of virtually no importance to him, and that he cared little for matters concerning ‘belief’ generally. The view presented here is that Synge was always more concerned about beliefs than he appeared to be with his taciturn public manner, and that the theme of the relationship between ‘beliefs’ and ‘reality’ is basic to his work.
This volume examines the impact the early years of Synge’s life and his visits to the Aran Islands had on him, generating themes and devices that became the staples of his drama. Dr. Thornton defines the philosophical premises which underlie the major plays and the developing theatrical techniques Synge devised to embody his explorations of the nature of belief. Deirdre of the Sorrows marks a fitting culmination to his career, showing how completely Synge had transformed his concern with stereotypes of response from a realisation to be articulated or a philosophical problem to be solved into a tool to facilitate the discovery of his individual viewpoint.
I. Seed Time of the Soul
II. The Verge of the Western World
III. The Shock of Some Inconceivable Idea
IV. First Fruits: The Shadow of the Glen; Riders to the Sea; The Tinker's Wedding
V. Dreamer's Vexation or Poet's Balm?: The Well of the Saints and The Playboy of the Western World
VI. A Sense that fits him to perceive objects unseen before: Deirdre of the Sorrows