A man who does not exist: the Irish peasant in the work of W.B. Yeats and J.M. Synge
"A man who does not exist"is about just that- the Irish peasant as an imaginative construct. Yeats and Synge were two of the writers who established the terms of an argument that has affected all subsequent Irish politics as well as literature. The Revivalists' task was to counter English stereotypes- the cavorting, drunken "Paddy" who, while entertaining and colorful, was not to be trusted to govern himself- and to provide a cultural context for the foundation of a new country. To write about "peasants" was to give life to old stories and thus to create a new national consciousness. Drawing from Irish folklore, Yeats created lyrical, romantic peasant figures, while Synge recreated the language he heard on the Aran Islands and in County Wicklow in order to develop his comic and tragic characters. Although of different political convictions, both turned to Irish folk culture in order to find a tradition, almost a religion, upon which to build a new literary movement. In"A man who does not exist"Deborah Fleming examines from a postcolonial perspective the cultural, historical, and literary contexts in which Yeats and Synge developed their peasant characters. By showing that both Yeats and Synge presented the dark side of rural life along with the lyrical, she defends them against the charge that their portraits are mere idealizations. Further, her analysis demonstrates the historical, anthropological, and political relevance of the two writers' works. An appendix contains additional information about the history of agrarian Ireland. This book contributes to the ongoing cultural and political discourse about Irish national identity. It will have wide appeal among those who study Ireland and its literature and will also interest scholars of postcolonial literature more generally. Deborah Fleming is Assistant Professor of English, Ashland University.
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The Peasant as Noble
Natural and Supernatural
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ancient Anglo-Irish Aran Islands aristocrat artistic audience ballad beauty beggar believed blind Cathleen Catholic Celtic century Christy Connacht Connemara Corkery Countess Cathleen Crazy Jane create culture Dara death Declan Kiberd described desire Douls dream Dublin emotion English Essays fairy farmers Gaelic Glen heart Hereafter referred hero Hyde ideal images imagination Ireland Irish folklore Irish Literature Irish peasants J. M. Synge Kiberd land landscape legend live Love Songs lover Martin Mary Mary Hynes Michael middle class Mythologies nationalists natural world noble Noble Savage Nora pastoral peasantry Pegeen Playboy poem poet poetic poetry political possessed praised Protestant Raftery Red Hanrahan Robin Skelton Romantic rural Seamus Deane Sidhe Sligo society soul speaker spiritual story supernatural symbols Synge wrote talk Thuente tinkers tion tradition Tramp University Press urban vision W. B. Yeats wandering Wicklow wind woman writes Yeats and Synge Yeats wrote Yeats's York
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