Theatre Research International


J. M. Synge and the Pitfalls of National Consciousness



An exploration of the repressed issues of class and gender which inhabit the Irish national unconscious, also seeks to intervene in the essentialism/constructionism debate concerning national identity which has preoccupied post-colonial scholars and Irish studies academics over the last few decades. The argument focuses on Synge's plays and culminates in an examination of his magnum opus The Playboy of the Western World (1907), while analysing Declan Kiberd's appropriation of Frantz Fanon's theories of decolonization in his critique of Synge's play. The objective is not only to trace the Möbius strip of national essence qua cultural construct, but also to analyse the dialectic of desire which energizes cultural and political identification.