John Millington Synge first met William Butler Yeats in Paris in 1896 where he (Synge) was living after a rejected marriage proposal. Yeats convinced him to spend some time on the Aran Islands and he eventually did, staying the summer of 1898 to write and recover from his first attack of Hodgkin's disease. Yeats vacationed there that summer as well and the two became literary colleagues and friends, a collaboration that lasted for thirty-odd years. Before Hodgkin's claimed his life, Synge charged Yeats with the care of his collected manuscripts; Synge's lawyers saw fit to ignore his request for reasons unknown to Yeats or anyone else.
"Synge and the Ireland of his Time," a collection of fifteen essays (stories, really) functions more as a biography of a friend than as a piece of critical literature. These are anecdotes, mostly, and through them the reader is presented with the slow decay of both a terminally ill man and a country going through a moral crisis, a crisis that Synge got into trouble for bringing to the surface. As is typical of controversial artists, the messenger was rather thoroughly shot.
Yeats' language is strikingly poetic in this book. It's always a pleasure to read the essays of those known primarily as poets - the glimmer of that drive, the flow of words, takes on the lilt of a lyricist and practically dances across the page.
If anyone finds an old, musty print of this and would like to donate it to a worthy cause, let me know.
Jack Butler Yeats, the author of the afterword, was a cartoonist and painter as well as being the author's younger brother.
Some biographical info taken from Wiki
Synge and the Ireland of his Time
by William Butler Yeats
With a note concerning a walk through Connemara with him by Jack Butler Yeats
Table of contents:
With Synge in Connemara
The text of this work of literature has been obtained from Project Gutenberg and is in the public domain.
The noding of this work is an ongoing project (will hopefully node a chapter a day) and the links above will be updated as advances are made.