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The Playboy of the Western World. (With an Introduction and Notes by T R Henn) Hardcover – Import, 1960

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern classics
  • Hardcover: 125 pages
  • Publisher: London: Methuen 1960. (Modern Classics Junior) (1960)
  • ASIN: B0000CKRHW
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,636,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By M. A. Seifter on April 20, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume is a fine introduction to the works of the modern Irish stage. Including three noted plays by the three pioneers of this theatre, Yeats, Synge, and O'Casey, this anthology begins with an introduction by W.A. Armstrong putting these plays and these three playwrights, along with the genesis of the modern Irish stage, in context of Irish literary nationalism (the Irish Dramatic Movement), from the 1890s on through the years of the Irish Civil War. The plays themselves make fine reading of course, especially Synge's oft-anthologized "Playboy of the Western World", but one might wish that the volume's editor had compressed his commentary preceding each play into the anthology's general introduction. There is a fine preface preceding "Playboy" by Synge himself that is well-worth reading to better understand his inspiration in writing this great play. Truly he writes here: "On the stage, one must have reality and one must have joy", and one has both in full measure in this play. All three plays, and the editorial introductions to the plays, illustrate how these works, as that of the Irish Dramatic Movement in general, partook of both rigorous realism, in depicting the harsh world lived by the Irish farmer and poor, and an eloquent psychology of fable, of men and women living not only on the land but in the land as well.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this for the O'Casey play and found it lived up to expectations. What I wasn't expecting to enjoy so much was Synge's "Playboy". Whereas O'Casey and Yeats here require some familiarity with the society and politics of Ireland of the time, Synge's play is a brilliant riot in any setting. Throw in one of Behan's plays and perhaps something from Martin McDonagh and you have an excellent sample of Irish drama of the last century.
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