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Synge and Edwardian Ireland$
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Brian Cliff and Nicholas Grene

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199609888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609888.001.0001

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The Edwardian Condition of Ireland

The Edwardian Condition of Ireland

(p.8) (p.9) 1 The Edwardian Condition of Ireland
Synge and Edwardian Ireland

Terence Brown

Oxford University Press

The Edwardian period in Ireland saw the emergence of a literary intelligentsia whose reflections on the condition of the country were sociological in content where nineteenth-century writers had produced anthropological accounts of Irish life.This sociological turn is seen as affecting George Moore’s The Untilled Field as well as Joyce’s Dubliners. In Dubliners dysfunctional father/son relationships are identified as a key preoccupation. This associates that text with Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World and with a lesser-known work of the period, D. P. Moran’s novel Tom O’Kelly in which inter-generational conflict drives the minimal plot. Moran’s novel is shown to bear comparison with Yeats’s sociological analysis of Edwardian Ireland, while Synge as documentary recorder of the actual conditions of of Irish rural life in a series of newpaper articles is seen to a offer more accurate insight into the poverty and potential of western Irish society in the period.

Keywords:   intelligentsia, sociological, father, son, inter-generational, peasant, poverty

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