Theatre and Residual Culture: J.M. Synge and Pre-Christian Ireland

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Palgrave Macmillan UK, Jul 5, 2016 - Performing Arts - 301 pages
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.

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About the author (2016)

Christopher Collins is Assistant Professor of Drama at the University of Nottingham, UK. From 2010-2015 he taught at the Department of Drama in Trinity College Dublin, where the research for this book was conducted. He has published extensively on Synge’s plays and performances, including a companion to The Playboy of the Western World (2016).