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J. M. Synge By Sean Hewitt (Government of Ireland Fellow, School of English, University College Cork)

Summary

A thorough re-assessment of one of Ireland's major playwrights, J.M. Synge (1871-1909). Using much previously-undiscussed archival material, the book takes each of Synge's plays and prose works, tracing his journey from an early Romanticism to a later, more combative modernism.

J. M. Synge Summary

J. M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism by Sean Hewitt (Government of Ireland Fellow, School of English, University College Cork)

This book is a complete re-assessment of the works of J.M. Synge, one of Ireland's major playwrights. The book offers the first complete consideration of all of Synge's major plays and prose works in nearly 30 years, drawing on extensive archival research to offer innovative new readings. Much work has been done in recent years to uncover Synge's modernity and to emphasise his political consciousness. This book builds on this re-assessment, undertaking a full systematic exploration of Synge's published and unpublished works. Tracing his journey from an early Romanticism through to the more combative modernism of his later work, the book's innovative methodology treats text as process, and considers Synge's reading materials, his drafts, letters, diaries, and journalism, turning up exciting and unexpected revelations. Thus, Synge's engagement with occultism, pantheism, socialism, Darwinism, and even a late reaction against eugenic nationalisms, are all brought into the critical discussion. Breaking new ground in ascertaining the tenets of Synge's spirituality, and his aesthetic and political idealization of harmony with nature, the book also builds on new work in modernist studies, arguing that Synge can be understood as a leftist modernist, exhibiting many of the key concerns of early modernism, but routing them through a socialist politics. Thus, this book is valuable not only to considerations of Synge and the Irish Revival, but also to modernist studies more broadly.

About Sean Hewitt (Government of Ireland Fellow, School of English, University College Cork)

Sean Hewitt is a Government of Ireland Fellow at the School of English, University College Cork. Before joining the School, he was a Leverhulme Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. He is a book critic for The Irish Times, and his debut collection of poetry, Tongues of Fire, is published by Jonathan Cape (2020). His current research project explores the influence of natural history and popular science on British and Irish writings, 1870-1930, and won the Maurice J. Bric Medal of Excellence from the Irish Research Council in 2019.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1: 'An Initiated Mystic': Occultism and Modernization in The Aran Islands 2: The Wicklow Essays: Science, Nature, and the Re-Enchanted World 3: 'A Black Knot': Temporalities in the One-Act Plays 4: Dialectics, Irony, and The Well of the Saints 5: 'From the Congested Districts': The Crow and the Golf-Ball 6: Degeneration, Eugenics, and The Playboy of the Western World Conclusion

Additional information

NGR9780198862093
9780198862093
0198862091
J. M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism by Sean Hewitt (Government of Ireland Fellow, School of English, University College Cork)
New
Hardback
Oxford University Press
2021-01-07
256
N/A
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