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Synge, Music, and Edwardian Dublin

Harry White

in Synge and Edwardian Ireland

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199609888
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731778 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609888.003.0007
Synge, Music, and Edwardian Dublin

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Synge’s formative years as a writer (1893–1901) were spent abroad, but his earliest artistic impulses and training were expressed through music. The history of late Victorian and Edwardian music in Dublin can provide a much better explanation than has hitherto been available for Synge’s abandonment of music in favour of literature. Several features of music in Dublin at the turn of the century explain why it was that Synge’s ‘cry to God for a melody’ (1898) was answered in words rather than tones. These include the influence of Stanford on the composition of Irish art music, the appointment of Michele Esposito to the Royal Irish Academy of Music (where Synge was a student) in 1882, the uncertain fate of the Dublin Orchestral Society in Edwardian Dublin, and the reception of music in Dublin in Joyce’s ‘The Dead’, written in the same year as Synge’s Playboy of the Western World.

Keywords: Stanford; Esposito; Joyce; Royal Irish Academy of Music; Dublin Orchestral Society

Chapter.  8151 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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