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Social Man

  • Michał Lachman
Chapter

Abstract

Lachman traces the theme of migration of the human self through material and spiritual reality in W.B. Yeats’s drama. He analyses Yeats’s protagonists as human artefacts shaped and reshaped by an intensive deformation of the body often presented at a moment of erotic ecstasy. On the one hand, Lachman shows Yeatsian character as a perfect representative of the modernist epoch; on the other hand, he stresses the distanced, colonial mode of Yeats’s writing, which results from the playwright’s precarious position within the local tradition of Irish literature. Then, Lachman moves on to present J.M. Synge as a critical representative of European philosophy and art who undertakes the task of exploring native Irish communities through a network of culturally specific concepts. Synge’s early documentary work, The Aran Islands, offers a vision of a utopian idyll of a perfect Irish society, while in his dramatic works he presents a tragic, or tragicomic, vision of failed social rebellions. Lachman argues that in his drama Synge narrates the story of Irish revivalist nationalism by ironically scrutinising its rural population through figures of vagabond, travelling social outcasts. Finally, Lachman claims that S. O’Casey’s drama offers perhaps the most bitter and biting criticism of both Catholic, nationalistic ideology of the Irish Free State and of the Marxist utopia of political reform. The chapter attempts to show how ruthless logic of historical determination dominates a character’s life and how individual protagonists either fail to confront it or—more rarely—heroically oppose it.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Michał Lachman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ŁódźŁódźPoland

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