John Millington Synge

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Synge, John Millington


Born Apr. 16, 1871, at Rath-farnham, near Dublin; died Mar. 24, 1909, in Dublin. Irish playwright.

Synge was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and in Paris. In his first play, In the Shadow of the Glen (1903), he attacked the power of money and advocated higher morality. His one-act drama Riders to the Sea (1904) depicts nature as a tragic force for fishermen doomed to perish at sea. Synge’s plays, which had been influenced by French and Belgian symbolism, then became predominantly realistic, as seen in The Well of the Saints (1905) and The Playboy of the Western World (1907; Russian translation by K. Chukovskii under the title The Hero, 1923), which depict the ignorance and cruelty of the Irish village.

Synge’s book of sketches The Aran Islands (1907) describes the life of Irish fishermen, whose tales were the source of most of Synge’s plays. The play The Tinker’s Wedding (1907) is anticlerical, and the play Deirdre of the Sorrows (1910, unfinished) is permeated with tragic motifs. Synge championed the aesthetic principles of realistic drama.


Collected Works, vols. 1–4. London, 1962–68.
In Russian translation:
Dramy. [Foreword by Iu. Kovalev.] Leningrad-Moscow, 1964.


Kamyshev, V. S. “Esteticheskie vzgliady Dzh. M. Singa.” In the collection Esteticheskiepozitsii i tvorcheskii metodpisatelia. Moscow, 1973.
Kamyshev, V. S. “Dzh. M. Sing v bor’be za novuiu irlandskuiu dramu.” In the collection Problemy zarubezhnoi literatury XIX-XX vv. Moscow, 1974.
Greene, D. H., and E. M. Stephens. J. M. Synge, 1871–1909. New York, 1959.
Gerstenberger, D. John Millington Synge. New York, 1965.
J. M. Synge Centenary Papers, 1971. [Dublin, 1972.]
Levitt, P. M. J. M. Synge: A Bibliography of Published Criticism. Dublin [1974].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The Mail Car, Early Morning, depicts the artist's memory of a visit to Ballina in Co Mayo in 1905 in the company of JM Synge.
Glanmore Castle, the seat of playwright JM Synge, is for sale from Jackson Stops McCabe for offers in the region of pounds 550,000.
IN the second of this extraordinary series the real murder that fuelled JM Synge to write The Playboy Of The Western World is investigated.
And before he shot Batman Begins he returned to his stage roots in a production of JM Synge's The Playboy Of The Western World, in Galway and Dublin.
2 The plays in which these characters are the leading ones, are: i) A Streetcar Named Desire/Tennessee Williams, ii) Roots/Arnold Wesker, iii) The Caretaker/Harold Pinter, iv) Under Milk Wood/Dylan Thomas, v) Pygmalion/GB Shaw, vi) Death Of A Salesman/Arthur Miller, vii) The Playboy Of The Western World (JM Synge), viii) The Rivals/Richard Brindsley Sheridan, ix) Look Back In Anger/John Osborne & The Importance Of Being Earnest/Oscar Wilde.
First up was On Baile's Strand by WB Yeats followed by Spreading The News by Lady Gregory, Kathleen Ni Houlihan by WB Yeats and In The Shadow Of The Glen by JM Synge.