The Introduction opens by stating that the study addresses the development and contexts of the representation of the historically nomadic Irish Traveller minority in literature and film, a stereotype that has generally been referred to as the ‘tinker’. The general lack of interest shown in the cultural history of the Traveller by established scholars of Irish culture is noted, and it is suggested that despite the fact that literary portrayals of the ‘tinker’ shape the experiences of actual Travellers, the construct remains almost entirely unexamined. A brief anthropological definition of the minority and a potted history of Traveller-majority culture relations during the twentieth century is then provided. This is followed by an outline of the theoretical models utilized in the study and a justification for the focus on J. M. Synge’s work.
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