Born near Dublin on April 16, 1871, John Millington Synge studied at Trinity College Dublin. When he was travelling in Europe, he met W. B. Yeats in Paris in 1896, who advised him to return to the Aran Islands to find the well-springs of his writing. Synge did so and published The Aran Islands in 1906. The subject of this book -- Irish peasant life -- formed those plays that made him the leading dramatist of his time. These included The Shadow of the Glen (1903), Riders to the Sea (1904), The Well of the Saints (1905), The Playboy of the Western World (1907), The Tinker's Wedding (1909), and Deirdre of the Sorrows, incomplete at Synge's death from Hodgkin's disease (1910). All were performed at the Abbey Theatre, the principal actress of which, Maire O'Neill, became engaged to Synge shortly before his death.
- Greene, David H., and Edward M. Stephens. J. M. Synge, 1871-1909, rev. edn. (New York: New York University Press, 1989; PR 5533 G7 1989 Robarts Library)
- Kopper, Edward A. John Millington Synge: a reference guide (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1979; Z 8857 .8 K66 Robarts Library)
- McCormack, W. J. "Synge, (Edmund) John Millington (1871–1909)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. May 2010.
- Synge, J. M. Collected works, 4 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1962-68; del S993 A1 1962-68 Fisher Rare Book Library)
- The collected letters of John Millington Synge, ed. Ann Saddlemyer (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983-84; PR 5533 A44 1983 Robarts Library)