John Millington Synge

Synge was born near Dublin in 1871 and died in 1909. He received his degree from Trinity College, Dublin, then went to Germany to study music and later to Paris, where he lived for several years working at literary criticism. Here, he met a compatriot, William Butler Yeats, who persuaded Synge to live for a while in the Aran Islands and then return to Dublin and devote himself to creative work. The Aran Islands (1907) is the journal of Synge's retreat among these primitive people.

The plays of Irish peasant life on which his fame rests were written in the last six years of his life. The first two one-act plays, In the Shadow of the Glen, (1903), a comedy, and Riders to the Sea (1904), considered one of the finest tragedies ever written, were produced by the Irish National Theatre Society. This group, with Synge, Yeats and Lady Gregory as co-directors, organized in 1904 the famous Abbey Theatre. Two comedies, The Well of the Saints (1905) and The Playboy of the Western World (1907), were presented by the Abbey players. The latter play created a furor of resentment among Irish patriots stung by Synge's bitter humor.

Synge's later works included The Tinker's Wedding, published in 1908 but not produced for fear of further riots, and Deirdre of the Sorrows, a tragedy unfinished at the time of his death but presented by the Abbey players in 1910.

Synge's Plays  |  Other Works  |  Biographies/Studies


Synge's Plays

Other Works


Related Sites

John Millington Synge

J.M. Synge Bio

Synge: Monologues

J.M. Synge: Poems

Related Playwrights

Samuel Beckett

Moonstruck Drama Bookstore  |  Theatre News  |  Theatre Links  |  Email Us