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The Poor Bugger’s ToolIrish Modernism, Queer Labor, and Postcolonial History$
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Patrick R. Mullen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746699

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746699.001.0001

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J. M. Synge and the Aesthetics of Intelligent Sympathy

J. M. Synge and the Aesthetics of Intelligent Sympathy

(p.47) Chapter 2 J. M. Synge and the Aesthetics of Intelligent Sympathy
The Poor Bugger’s Tool

Patrick R. Mullen

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Synge deploys a queer aesthetic in his representation of the Irish peasantry. Furthermore, it suggests that by doing so, Synge develops a more fluid and inclusive model of Irish national affiliation than other writers of the Irish Revival. Rather than seeing a break between Wildean aesthetics as they are embodied in the figure of the dandy and the figure of the peasant promoted by the Revival, the chapter reveals Synge’s project as an elaboration of queer aesthetic practices along new lines. By expanding our understanding of the queer beyond questions of identity to modes of style, the chapter explores how the critical and ethical concerns of queer theory might be brought to bear in novel contexts.

Keywords:   John Millington Synge, Irish Revival, Irish peasantry, Irish national affiliation, dandy

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