James Joyce and the Legacy of Synge
Synge and Joyce have most commonly been seen as opposites, divided by class, religion and background and by their differing attitudes to the ideals of the literary revival. Yet, examination of the pivotal meeting of Synge and Joyce in Paris in 1903 reveals that the hostility between them masks convergences between their aesthetic. Joyce plays with and restages aspects of Synge's work throughout his writings thereby indicating the extent to which he is haunted by the influence of his predecessor. It is particularly Riders to the Sea, the first text by Synge with which he closely engaged and that he initially rejected, which troubles and beguiles him, with its capacity to remould classical convention to deliver insights into the primitivist truths of Irish society and to invent a text that is defiantly different and modern. He returns consistently to Riders throughout his career and continues to reflect on its troubling radicalism.
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