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'Tinkers' – Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller - Oxford Scholarship Online
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'Tinkers': Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller

Mary Burke


The history of the Irish minority Traveller community is not analogous to that of the ‘tinker’, a Europe-wide underworld fantasy created by 16th-century British and continental Rogue Literature that came to be seen as an Irish character alone as English became dominant in Ireland. By the Revival, the tinker represented bohemian, pre-Celtic aboriginality, functioning as the cultural nationalist counter to the Victorian Gypsy mania. Long misunderstood as a portrayal of actual Travellers, J. M. Synge’s influential The Tinker’s Wedding was pivotal to this ‘Irishing’ of the tinker, even as it ackno ... More

Keywords: Irish Travellers, tinkers, Synge, The Tinker’s Wedding, Irish minorities, Irish Revival, Gypsies, rogue literature, white trash, Scots-Irish

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199566464
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566464.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Burke, author
Department of English, University of Connecticut
Author Webpage