Riders to the Sea

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Riders to the Sea by J.M. Synge

Biography
John Millington Synge was born on April 16, 1871 to a middle class Protestant family. He was educated at private schools in Dublin and studied piano, flute, violin, music theory and counterpoint at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He was a talented student and attended Trinity College where he studied Irish and Hebrew. During this time Synge encountered the writings of Darwin and developed and interest in the Aran Islands. Reading Darwin coincided with a crisis of faith and Synge abandoned the Protestant religion of his upbringing. Post college he went to Germany to pursue a career in music but found that he was too shy to perform so he quit and began pursuing writing. In 1894 Synge moved back to Ireland for a short time and then to Paris to study literature and language at the Sorbonne. In 1896, Synge visited Italy to study language before returning to Paris. Later that year he met William Butler Yeats who recognized his talent and encouraged him to live in the Aran Islands for a while and then return to Dublin to devote himself to creative work. Beginning in 1898, Synge spent five consecutive summers on the islands collecting stories and folklore. It was this same year that he wrote his first play When the Moon Hat Set. Two years later, in 1900 he sent his play to the Irish Literature Theatre but it was rejected. He was though, published in the New Ireland Review with an account of his life on the islands. 1901 saw the construction of his second two plays, Riders to the Sea and Shadow of the Glen. The latter of which was his first play to be performed on stage in Dublin. In 1904, Yeats and Lady Gregory found the Abbey Theatre and produce Riders to the Sea. Synge was appointed Literary Advisor to the theatre and became one of the directors of the company. In 1907 Synge’s book length journal The Aran Islands was published. It is a slow paced reflection of life on the islands and reflects Synge’s belief that beneath...
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