The Aran Islands (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)

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9780140184327: The Aran Islands (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)

The foremost account of Ireland's cultural and spiritual heritage

In 1907 J. M. Synge achieved both notoriety and lasting fame with The Playboy of the Western World. The Aran Islands, published in the same year, records his visits to the islands in 1898-1901, when he was gathering the folklore and anecdotes out of which he forged The Playboy and his other major dramas. Yet this book is much more than a stage in the evolution of Synge the dramatist. As Tim Robinson explains in his introduction, "If Ireland is intriguing as being an island off the west of Europe, then Aran, as an island off the west of Ireland, is still more so; it is Ireland raised to the power of two." Towards the end of the last century Irish nationalists came to identify the area as the country's uncorrupted heart, the repository of its ancient language, culture and spiritual values. It was for these reasons that Yeats suggested Synge visit the islands to record their way of life. The result is a passionate exploration of a triangle of contradictory relationships – between an island community still embedded in its ancestral ways but solicited by modernism, a physical environment of ascetic loveliness and savagely unpredictable moods, and Synge himself, formed by modern European thought but in love with the primitive.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Nothing much happens on the Aran Islands--at least, not much went on there in the late 19th century, when John Synge sailed out to these mist-shrouded, salt-sprayed, and wave-battered chunks of rocks south of Ireland. Therein lies the charm of the setting and of this lovely book, which captures the saltiness of both the marine air and the time-lost characters, who deeply believe in the magical "wee people." In cottages where nets and fishing tackle hang from beams, the women (who always wear red dresses and petticoats, as do some of the boys) sit at their spinning wheels or sew cow-skin sandals, while the fishermen spin yarns about fairies, sunken vessels, and bags of gold gained from adulterous wives. The big happening of the year is when roofs are rethatched--an event that blossoms into a festival with twisted rope stretching from kitchen table through lane to nearby field. Synge seems an ambassador from a different world: addressed as "noble person," he brings tokens of modernity--be they clocks or simple magic tricks that beguile the locals. First published in 1907, this re-released travelogue gives a poignant peek into another time and begs a visit to the Aran Islands to see how, or if, they have changed. --Melissa Rossi

From the Inside Flap:

Scotland has always done things its own way, and that is what akes the country's history so interesting. More than four thousand years ago, its Stone Age inhabitants were among the most advanced builders of Europe. About two thousand years ago, the Romans decided it was wiser to build a wall than attempt conquest. A thousand years ago, Scotland was one of the first medieval European kingdoms to emerge as a political unity from the Dark Ages. The decendants of those first Scots still inhabit the country. This original and immensely readable history charts the long, painful, sometimes tragic, often inspiring process that has formed the Scottish people of today. It reveals how the Scots' sense of nationhood has always been under test and how that pressure has shaped the ways in which they see themselves and are seen by others. A special and unique feature are the 'fact windows' in the text. They light up many fascinating aspects of the national story not normally covered in history books and present a range of outstanding people who at different times have played a part in Scotland's life and still-evolving history.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1907 J. M. Synge achieved both notoriety and lasting fame with The Playboy of the Western World. The Aran Islands, published in the same year, records his visits to the islands in 1898-1901, when he was gathering the folklore and anecdotes out of which he forged The Playboy and his other major dramas. Yet this book is much more than a stage in the evolution of Synge the dramatist. As Tim Robinson explains in his introduction, If Ireland is intriguing as being an island off the west of Europe, then Aran, as an island off the west of Ireland, is still more so; it is Ireland raised to the power of two. Towards the end of the last century Irish nationalists came to identify the area as the country s uncorrupted heart, the repository of its ancient language, culture and spiritual values. It was for these reasons that Yeats suggested Synge visit the islands to record their way of life. The result is a passionate exploration of a triangle of contradictory relationships - between an island community still embedded in its ancestral ways but solicited by modernism, a physical environment of ascetic loveliness and savagely unpredictable moods, and Synge himself, formed by modern European thought but in love with the primitive. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140184327

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1907 J. M. Synge achieved both notoriety and lasting fame with The Playboy of the Western World. The Aran Islands, published in the same year, records his visits to the islands in 1898-1901, when he was gathering the folklore and anecdotes out of which he forged The Playboy and his other major dramas. Yet this book is much more than a stage in the evolution of Synge the dramatist. As Tim Robinson explains in his introduction, If Ireland is intriguing as being an island off the west of Europe, then Aran, as an island off the west of Ireland, is still more so; it is Ireland raised to the power of two. Towards the end of the last century Irish nationalists came to identify the area as the country s uncorrupted heart, the repository of its ancient language, culture and spiritual values. It was for these reasons that Yeats suggested Synge visit the islands to record their way of life. The result is a passionate exploration of a triangle of contradictory relationships - between an island community still embedded in its ancestral ways but solicited by modernism, a physical environment of ascetic loveliness and savagely unpredictable moods, and Synge himself, formed by modern European thought but in love with the primitive. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140184327

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