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This reappraisal of Synge's achievement draws extensively on his unpublished papers in the Irish language. In rebutting the nationalist attack on the dramatist with an account of his deep indebtedness to the Gaelic tradition, Dr Kiberd also reveals an Irish Synge who has been consistently neglected by international scholars. This edition has been augmented by a substantial introductory chapter, reviewing recent developments in Synge criticism and offering a post-colonial interpretation of "The Playboy of the Western World". J.M. Synge's first play to be produced in Dublin was rejected as "a slander on Irish womanhood" and his major drama, "The Playboy of the Western World", caused rioting inside and outside the theatre. He was denounced as an Ascendancy eavesdropper, and his work was rejected by nationalists because it was written in English. Synge became the victim of a cruel paradox - those who loved his works knew no Irish and those who loved Irish despised his works. Leading international commentators came to accept the assumption that the dramatist knew little or nothing of the ancient language. This book shows that, on the contrary, Synge's command of Irish was extensive and that this knowledge proved invaluable in the writing of his major plays.
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