J M Synge-Brief Biography



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J M Synge-Brief Biography


John Millington Synge-Brief Biography

J M Synge

J M Synge-Brief Biography

J M Synge (John Millington Synge) was a great poetic dramatist of Ireland who met an untimely death at the age of thirty-eight after writing only six plays.

John Millington Synge was born in 1871 at Rathfarnham near Dublin in Ireland. John was the son of a Protestant barrister who died a year after John’s birth. One of his distant ancestors was a good singer who sang so sweetly before Henry VIII of England. The king asked him to use the surname Synge and hence the family began to use ‘Synge’ after their names. From his mother’s side, he had inherited a strong evangelical mind. 

In due time, his mother, as his father died while he was a child, gave him education through a private tutor at home. Later on, he was sent to Trinity, Dublin where he studied for four years from 1888 to 1892 and took a simple degree as he was not (as a student), a good one; but he had a good interest in music, history and Irish myths and legends.

After having his schooling completed at Trinity, J M Synge went abroad to Germany with a view to pursuing his interest in music. But it was a matter of sorrow that he did not have the courage to play before an audience for which he bade a farewell to Germany as well as to music. Then after giving up his interest in music, he went to Paris to adopt a literary career. There, as he made to manage with a small amount of money sent by his widow mother, he lived in a squalid condition. During his stay in Paris, he taught English and learned French and engaged himself in the practice of literary criticism. There, fortunately, he met William Butler Yeats, a poet-cum- dramatist. They exchanged their ideas and especially Synge was fascinated by the career of Yeats. Then while Synge asked Yeats’ advice in the field of Synge’s writing, then Yeats advised him to go to the Aran Islands to study the realistic lifestyle of peasants and fisherfolks there. Synge took up Yeats’ advice and paid visits to the Islands at least five times and studied the life way of the natives of the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands are a group of islands situated to the southwest of Galway. There, he found realistic materials for his writings.

Already, W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and some others founded a dramatic as well as a literary movement in Ireland with native sensibilities. John Millington Synge had taken participation in the movement and began to write plays. In 1903 he wrote out his first play, The Shadow of the Glen. It is a comedy that deals with the simulations of death by an elderly wife with her young lover. That was the beginning and then play after play began to come out through his pen. In 1903-4, he wrote ‘Riders to the Sea’, his second play, a tragedy.

Little of J M Synge‘s private life is known to us that he fell in love with a play-mouth sister named Cherry Matheson who rejected Synge. Another brief affair came with the actress Molly Allgood, but this affair also came futile. But later on, it was proved that Moll’s love for Synge was deep for which she became nearly frantic for Synge when Synge’s death seemed to approach.

Synge from his early years had been suffering from Hodgkin’s disease for which he had to get an operation several times. At last, he was admitted to a hospital, but no doctor could cure him. In 1909 he met his death at the age of thirty-eight only, leaving behind him nothing but six plays that are characteristically Syngian as they are a true representation of the true life of Ireland. The themes, the settings, the environment and the language—all are replete with the real spirit of Ireland. His plays are poetic though they are written in prose. They are poetic because the language of his plays bears the emotions of life which are poetic. He wrote a total of six plays only among which Riders to the Sea is his masterpiece. Amongst his contemporaries as—W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and George Moore—his (Synge) place as a dramatist is above all.

About his temperament, it is said that J M Synge was habitually a shy and reticent person. He seemed to be obstinate in his opinion. He had the capacity to remain a spectator rather than a participant. He had a keen skill-power to scrutinize things and matters.  0 0 0

J M Synge

N.B.  The article ‘J M Synge-Brief Biography’ originally belongs to the book ‘The World Writers-Brief Biographies‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

J M Synge

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

  1. The Fugitive Father and Other Stories
  2. The Prostitute and Other Stories
  3. Neha’s Confession

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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