Synge

Synge

[sing]
Synge, John Millington, 1871-1909, Irish poet and dramatist, b. near Dublin, of Protestant parents. He was an important figure in the Irish literary renaissance. As a young man he studied music in Germany and later lived in Paris, where he wrote literary criticism. In Paris he met his compatriot W. B. Yeats, who persuaded Synge to live for a while in the Aran Islands and then return to Dublin and devote himself to creative work. All of Synge's plays reflect his experiences in the Aran Islands. Intense and poetic in style, his works depict the bleak and tragic lives of Irish peasants and fisherfolk. His first two one-act plays—In the Shadow of the Glen (1903), a comedy, and Riders to the Sea (1904), a tragedy—were presented by the Irish National Theatre Society. In 1904 this group, with Synge, Yeats, and Lady Augusta Gregory as codirectors, organized the famous Abbey Theatre. Two of Synge's 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 spoof of heroic ideals and nationalism. His later works were 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. The Aran Islands (1907) is Synge's journal of his stay on the islands.

See biographies by D. H. Greene and E. M. Stephens (1959) and D. Gerstenberger (1964); studies by D. Corkery (1931, repr. 1965), M. Bourgeois (1913, repr. 1969), W. B. Yeats (1911, repr. 1971), R. Skelton (1971), and M. C. King (1985).

Synge, Richard Laurence Millington, 1914-94, British biochemist, Ph.D. Cambridge, 1941. Synge was a researcher at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, London, from 1943 to 1948 and at the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland from 1948 to 1967. He then worked as a biochemist at the Food Research Institute, Norwich, England, from 1967 to 1976. Synge was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Archer Martin in 1952 for their invention of partition chromatography, a chemical process that enables mixtures of closely related chemicals to be separated for identification and further examination.

(born April 16, 1871, Rathfarnham, near Dublin, Ire.—died March 24, 1909, Dublin) Irish playwright. After studying languages and music in Dublin and France, he met William Butler Yeats, who advised Synge to go to the west coast of Ireland to draw material from life. From 1899 to 1902 he spent his summers on the Aran Islands, observing the people and learning their language; he based his first plays, In the Shadow of the Glen (1903) and Riders to the Sea (1904), on islanders' stories. His travels on the Irish west coast inspired his most famous play, The Playboy of the Western World (1907); its unsentimental treatment of Irish character traits caused riots at its opening at the Abbey Theatre. His unfinished Deirdre of the Sorrows was performed in 1910. A poetic dramatist of great power, he was a leading figure of the Irish literary renaissance.

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(born April 16, 1871, Rathfarnham, near Dublin, Ire.—died March 24, 1909, Dublin) Irish playwright. After studying languages and music in Dublin and France, he met William Butler Yeats, who advised Synge to go to the west coast of Ireland to draw material from life. From 1899 to 1902 he spent his summers on the Aran Islands, observing the people and learning their language; he based his first plays, In the Shadow of the Glen (1903) and Riders to the Sea (1904), on islanders' stories. His travels on the Irish west coast inspired his most famous play, The Playboy of the Western World (1907); its unsentimental treatment of Irish character traits caused riots at its opening at the Abbey Theatre. His unfinished Deirdre of the Sorrows was performed in 1910. A poetic dramatist of great power, he was a leading figure of the Irish literary renaissance.

Learn more about Synge, John Millington with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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