J.M. Synge, one of the greatest English language playwrites of the 20th century, immortalized the Aran Islands and its people with vivid written portraits that are among the greatest in modern literature. Synge's vibrant language and earthy themes breathtakingly capture the folklore and way of life that has since perished on these remote northen islands. As an aspiring writer in 1897, Synge was commanded by William Butler Yeats to, "Go to the Aran Islands. Live there as one of the people themselves; express a life that has never found expression." Synge captures his first four visits to the islands in this magical book. However, their influence continued to permeate his work, including The Playboy of the Western World. Filled with the exuberant energy of an artist coming into his own, The Aran Islands provides an unforgettable look at a land that holds Ireland's ancestral language, culture and uncorrupted heart. Synge's lyrical glimpses into the past, coupled with Donal Donnelly's rich, lilting voice transports listeners to these tiny Emerald Islands.
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"In 1897 Synge took seriously Yeats's command to quit Paris and "Go to the Aran Islands," and it's well that he did. For he found there a rough, beautiful people living close to the sea, speaking the native Irish and steeped in its stories, all of which became the backbone of this work. Four visits are recounted here. But mostly it is stories! And how Donal Donnelly brings them to a lilting life! Though Irish isn't spoken in the book, the rhythm and feel of the native tongue are conveyed by Donnelly's reading and Synge's lyrical renderings. As each one tells his story, the "little people" take life, the Irish takes hold, and the reader is transported to these harsh islands, struggling for life just beyond Galway Bay. P.E.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine"
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