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The Playboy of the Western World and Other Plays

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Synge was one of the key dramatists in the flourishing world of Irish literature at the turn of the century. This volume offers every one of his plays, which range from racy comedy to stark tragedy, all sharing a memorable lyricism. The introduction to this new, definitive edition sets the plays in the context of the Irish literary movement, with special attention to Synge ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 8th 1995)
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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 some sort (tinkers, tramps, fugitives etc) but blessed with glorious and lively imaginations, and a musical idiom to match. In presenting the world through their observant and often subversive eyes (!) ...more

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 performance would be like- inflections, gesticulations, actors, stage settings, etc. And so, in a way, I don't really even want to see them performed onstage or on film. And yet, of course, I do so very much..
What a hilarious play. Christy is the "playboy of the western world" - in its first evocation by the Widow Quin its spoken slant and chafingly. As he gains his street cred (beyond the urban mythology growing around the killing of his father) he is heralded as town hero and engages in the lyricism of love with Pegeen - until his father shows up and defames him yelling, "Is this the playboy of the western world" - spoken contemptuously by the crowd.

In the end, resurrected a second time, his Mahon
Drew Heverin
While the drama is compelling when you find yourself identifying with one of Synge's characters, I found it mundane and boring for the most part. But this drama, like most in the era, probably relies on seeing the performance instead of reading alone in your house.
Read "Riders to the Sea" in August 2012.
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Edmund John Millington Synge (pronounced /sɪŋ/) was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. He was one of the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for the play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots during its opening run at the Abbey theatre. Synge wrote many well known plays, including "Riders to the Sea", which is often considered to be his ...more
More about J.M. Synge...
The Playboy of the Western World The Playboy of the Western World & Riders to the Sea Riders to the Sea The Aran Islands The Complete Plays

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