The Aran Islands
Publisher: Penguin BooksFormat: Paperback
First published in 1907, this is a record of Synge's visit to the three islands off Galway in the west of Ireland in 1898-1901. The visit to the islands was at the recommendation of Yeats. It was not until Synge's first visits that Aran recovered some of its mystic status that it had enjoyed in previous centuries. The islanders found themselves viewed as the Celtic soul of Ireland. The living culture of Aran was seen as a repository of venerable antiquities. Synge listened to the islanders folktales and anecdotes, many of which he used for his play “the Playboy of the Western World”. The book is in four parts, corresponding to the first four of his five visits and is an exploration of an island community living a traditional life, but with modern life beginning to invade.
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