This book considers the cultural residue from pre-Christian Ireland in Synge's plays and performances. By dramatising a residual culture in front of a predominantly modern and political Irish Catholic middle class audience, the book argues that Synge attempted to offer an alternative understanding of what it meant to be "modern" at the beginning of the twentieth century. The book draws extensively on Synge's archive to demonstrate how pre-Christian residual culture informed not just how he wrote and staged pre-Christian beliefs, but also how he thought about an older, almost forgotten culture that Catholic Ireland desperately wanted to forget. Each of Synge's plays is considered in an individual chapter, and they identify how Synge's dramaturgy was informed by pre-Christian beliefs of animism, pantheism, folklore, superstition and magical ritual.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Number of pages: 301
Weight: 5106 g
Dimensions: 210 x 148 x 23 mm
Edition: 1st ed. 2016
"The book is extremely well documented, drawing on extensive archival material and proposing careful readings of the philosophical texts which had a lasting influence on Synge's writings, prominent amongst which is James Frazer's The Golden Bough (1890). In historicizing Synge's plays and taking folk belief seriously, Collins's book offers an important contribution to postcolonial readings of the Irish Literary Revival and will be of enduring interest to scholars of Synge and of Edwardian Ireland." (Helene Lecossois, Theatre Research International, Vol. 42, (3), October, 2017)
"While it might appear a purely historical book, Ireland, Memory and Performing the Historical Imagination ensures that the past is interrogated with the lens of current concerns-theatrically, theoretically, and philosophically." (Brian Singleton, Theatre Journal, Vol. 68, (3), September 2016)