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The Tinker's Wedding

J. M. Synge

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .blems, or with the absinthe or ver- mouth of the last musical comedy. The drama, like the symphony, does not teach or prove anything. Analysts with their problems, and teachers with their systems, are soon as old-fashioned as the pharmacopœia of Galen, — look at Ibsen and the Germans — but the best plays of Ben Jonson and Molière can no more go out of fashion than the black- berries on the hedges. Of the things which nourish the imagination humour is one of the most needful, and it is dangerous to limit or destroy it. Baudelaire calls laughter the greatest sign of the Satanic element in man; and where a country loses its humor, as some towns in Ireland are doing, there will be morbidity of mind, as Baude- laire's mind was morbid. In the greater part of Ireland, however, the whole people, from the tinkers to the clergy, have still a life, and view of life, that


are rich and genial and humorous. I do not think t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

An amazing selection of one if Ireland's greatest dramatist work

What Synge managed to do was ‘translate’ the Gaelic spoken in Western Ireland in his time into a distinctive and poetic-sounding medium for drama. What he did not manage to do was write great plays. The early works such as the title piece have an austere beauty, like a medieval mystery play, but are

Mulligan has this great gag in ‘Scylla and Charybdis’:
—Shakespeare? he said. I seem to know the name. [...] To be sure, he said, remembering brightly. The chap that writes like Synge.
And a couple of pages later, Mulligan’s mocking mimicry:
—And we to be there, mavrone, and you to be unbeknownst sendi

Only two plays in thus far (reading it for a class I'm auditing, before I go to the holy land, I hopeahopeahope) and they're both fantastic.

I have this thing with reading plays, probably everybody does, wherein the reading of the play creates this kind of Platonic ideal of what its perfect performan

In 'Deirdre of the Sorrows', Synge has the eponymous Deirdre claim that 'It is not a small thing to be rid of grey hairs and the loosening of the teeth'. Clearly, for Synge, it's a huge asset, and I finished reading his collection of plays almost relieved for his sake that he died young. He has an a

These six plays, some only of one act, whether tragedy or comedy, are a wonderful evocation of Irish rural life over a century ago. Synge’s use of the ‘Hiberno-English’ he heard in his travels in western Ireland makes for vivid and often racey, even poetic dialogue. His plots challenge the prudishne

Six plays which deserve to be known better! All are relatively short (a couple of them are only one act long) but they are intense dramas, and instantly claimed a home in my memory. Synge's characters are largely the rural and peasant folk of country Ireland, many of them outcasts or dissenters of s

Once, when midnight smote the air,
Eunuchs ran through Hell and met
On every crowded street to stare
Upon great Juan riding by:
Even like these to rail and sweat
Staring upon his sinewy thigh.

So Yeats says "On Those that hated 'The Playboy of the Western World,' 1907," by which it appears that if we

"A vile and inhuman story told in the foulest language" was one verdict* on The Playboy of the Western World; "an unmitigated, protracted libel upon Irish peasant men, and worse still upon Irish girlhood" was another.** Synge's most famous play was, it seems, not the only one to attract condemnation

The Playboy of the Western World, Deirdre of the Sorrows, and Riders to the Sea are some of the finest twentieth century plays that I have ever read. Collectively, they demonstrate the plasticity of J. M. Synge as a playwright, for each represents a distinct sort of drama. Playboy is a three-act mag

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