The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands❰Read❯ ➭ The Aran Islands Author J.M. Synge – 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 In J M Synge achieved both notoriety and lasting fame with The Playboy of the The Aran eBook ☆ Western World The Aran Islands published in the same year records his visits to the islands in when he was gathering the folklore and anecdotes out of which he forged The Playboy and his other major dramasYet this book is much 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 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. The Aran Islands by JM Synge is a remarkable and insightful read of life on the Aran Islands From 1898 to 1903Having just returned from an amazing 2 day trip to the Islands I was eager to read this remarkable little book that had been recommended to me by one of the Islanders Synge in his relatively short life helped revolutionize Irish Threater was a poet prose writer musicianplaywright and collector of folklore He spent part of his summers for 5 years on the Aran Islands collecting and documenting stories and customs and traditions of the Islanders and the end product this little book is a remarkable and important collection of information and folklore This is not a story but rather a series of journal accounts as the author says in his introduction In the pages that follow I have given a direct account of my life on the Islands and of what I met with amoung them Inventing nothing and changing nothing this is essential There is so much that I found intriguing and insightful in this account the way of life and the hardship of the Islanders the bleak and harsh and yet stunning landscape the tradition stories food clothing and the religion and beliefs are so interesting and I came away with a better understanding of their life and struggles at this time While everything has changed on the Islands with modernization nothing has changed like landscape remoteness beauty uiet and those rugged and stunning stone walls and ruins I loved the fact that after stepping foot on the island you can hire a bike and within 5 minutes be utterly by yourself and step back in time I loved this book and can't stop thinking about it I would recommend it to those who have an interest in folklore and history of Ireland It's not for everyone but I can see many enjoying this and at 208 pages is not very taxing Delightful I highly recommend this audiobook narrated by Donal Donnelly if you want immersion into the most Irish of Ireland the Aran Islands The three islands Inis Mór Inis Meáin and Inis Óirr are located in Galway Bay This is a book relating the author's experiences a famed playwright who visited the island several times 1898 1901 on the suggestion of Yeats These visits are the bedrock for his plays The narrator's brogue is fantastic and further enhances ones experience Listen to it don't read it You get fables depiction of the food clothing occupations and the islanders' simple manner of being You learn about kelp burning thatching rope making farming fishing the festivals and the fairies What makes this book is HOW it is written the language used the brogue and the simple straight forward speech of the islanders The stories are simple and many you will recognize Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Goose that Lays Golden Eggs and although clothed in the islands' mantle There is subtle humor You will feel as though you are yourself sitting in front of a hearth hearing the stories engulfed by fog and tangy salt smells A delightful reading experienceI never felt the author looked down on these islanders as some other readers have noted It must be the 80% Irish in me rising to the top for I've never had a book make me homesick for a place I've never been A lovely book that is incredibly evocative of a way of life that has long since passed away through its stories and reflections of the fishermen and women who lived on the Aran islands Synge went there to learn Irish and return to his gaelic roots He seems to have been one of a long parade of anthropologists artists and writers in fact a reflection of the huge upsurge of a certain kind of nationalism at the time There is a lyrical beauty in many of his descriptions and an honest attempt to enter into and understand the daily lives of the islanders with a great deal of respect though he spends a lot fo time lying around in the sunshine while also pondering the unbridgeable distance between them As a man he cannot seem to enter the women's world really at all but his wanderings with the old men and his recountings of their tales and poems are uite wonderful I loved his description of how islanders told timeor failed to tell it when the wind was in the right direction an excerpt of which is to be found in EP Thompson which I had forgotten His description of the evictions was particularly poignant even when the pigs the landowner was having rounded up as rent bowled over three policemen It was something I couldn't uite forgive him for the absence of any kind of political economy in his understanding the fact that the villagers were so poor because they lived on land that barely provided subsistence their ingenious ways of extracting every last possible use from it are incredible yet still was land owned by someone else for which they had to pay rent in coin Who was it? How did some one person come to own an island on which these people had lived for generations? And Synge with his privilege just sat and watched it being taken away Women keening after losing everything There isn't even an attempt to come to terms with it He just soaks in the local colour and moves on though the letters he exchanges with the island residents most of whom of a certain age seem to move to America are lovely and show some human connection was made If you go to the Aran Islands today you find that a few thousand people live there mostly tending BBs or tourist shops The only remnant of the old Ireland is the hundreds of miles of stone walls that still divide the land into tiny plotsSynge's diary is hardly a masterwork of ethnography The complete absence of shyness or self consciousness in most of these people gives them a particular charm and when this young and beautiful woman leaned across my knees to look nearer at some photograph that pleased her I felt than ever the strange simplicity of the island life He's an anachronism writing about greater anachronismsBut it's a good read I found two general benefits First you do get a sense of what life was like there in the late 19th century – the fishing the poverty the migration And second you get some really odd anecdotes which undoubtedly reflect traditional Irish culture Synge's travelogue of the Aran Islands is a mostly a curiosity Drawn from multiple visits the scenes and stories recounted are fascinating patronizing and boring by turns Synge's prose is always clear an precise but the book is weighted down by his often condescending attitude toward his subjects so typical of the author's day and age Here we have Noble Savages of the Irish sort a view we can't help but feel uncomfortable with But if you're willing to cut through this cultural screen the places and the people Synge encounters are truly remarkable Most firmly etched into my mind are scenes of an island funeral full of bluster and pain culminating in the mother of the deceased beating on the coffin before it was lowered into the grave the skull of her own dead mother in her other hand and a great keening rising from all the women of the island A strange and amazingly human moment A delightful account of Synge's stay on the islands as he endeavored to learn Gaelic and the ways of the people No wonder his plays are so real William Butler Yeats encourage Synge to go to the Aran Islands to listen to the voices hear the stories live among the people And so he did That there is a patronising tone to his recollection is perhaps understandable given the rigid social stratification in the British Isles at the time as a member of the Anglo Irish Protestant Ascendancy it was remarkable that Synge was so willing to follow Yeats advise in the first place But despite Synge's sometimes condescending tone one gets a sense of a genuine affection for his subjects; there had to be something that kept drawing him back to the islands year after year between 1896 and 1903 Neither anthropology nor travelogue The Aran Islands is a peculiar personal portrait of a place and time His experiences on the islands the people he met the stories he heard provided a framework for his widely recognised literary efforts the plays In the Shadow of the Glen 1903 Riders to the Sea 1904 and perhaps his masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World 1907 Synge wrote this in pieces but I think it works that wayvery beautiful snapshots of the everyday and the sublime Which is what life must constantly be like on these islands Not sure if it is still the same there there was a storm when I was supposed to go so maybe I wont ever find outHe goes back a few times never mentions his own appearance or disruptionlack of to the people's lives and observes things the way a ghost mightvery strange But I have read he was a strangely closed manso that might be why he loved this place so much and the fact that not much besides the weirdness of the fairies shock the Aran folkand even then they are both matter of fact and humorous about their beliefs Good book about a way of life that is so much basic than ours today but somehow emotionally sophisticatedThe descriptions of normal people on the islands and how they behave when away with the little folk are chilling I'm reading a 1911 edition of this that I got from the UW library The pages are soft and delicate and the prose is simple and beautiful Anyone who thinks fairies are pretty little women with tinkerbell wings will think twice before inviting one into their home I picked this up as part of my research for the probable Akropolis Performance Lab production of Synge's Riders to the SeaIt's an indispensible resource to the life and customs of the Aran Island inhabitants Full of impecable details striking anecdotes and rich folk tales Slainte

The Aran Islands eBook ✓ The Aran  eBook ☆
  • Paperback
  • 208 pages
  • The Aran Islands
  • J.M. Synge
  • English
  • 08 July 2015
  • 9780140184327