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'Tinkers'Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller$
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Mary Burke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566464.001.0001

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Playboys of the Eastern World: Synge's Bohemian Tinkers and Pre‐Celtic Islanders

Playboys of the Eastern World: Synge's Bohemian Tinkers and Pre‐Celtic Islanders

(p.96) 3 Playboys of the Eastern World: Synge's Bohemian Tinkers and Pre‐Celtic Islanders

Mary Burke (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The third chapter argues that in his prose, erstwhile Paris resident Synge drew both from the tradition of Ireland’s ‘Eastern’ roots and fin-de-siècle bohemianism in depicting ‘instinctively’ artistic tinkers; in late 19th-century France, the notional space of ‘Bohemia’ enfolded both Gypsies and free-living artists. In terms of the cultural politics of the Revival, the native theory of tinkers as pre-Celtic survivals was a more acceptable Orientalization than that to which British and European Gypsies had earlier been subject. Moreover, the perceived Irish affinity with France buttressed Synge’s invocation of the bohémien. Hence, even when he Orientalizes tinkers, Synge invokes a native or domesticated discourse of the exotic procured from an impeccably Irish intellectual tradition and a complementary model imported from Sister France. Ultimately, Synge’s association of islanders with tinkers led him to represent Aran as an Eastern, pre-Celtic space safe from the contamination of evolutionary change and Western modernity

Keywords:   bohemianism, exoticization, France, evolution, modernity, Aran Islands, Revival, Gypsies, Orientalization

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