'The silence of Barbara Synge' provides a fascinating companion volume to Bill McCormack's acclaimed 'Fool of the family' (2000), a biography of the playwright J.M.
Synge (1871-1909). Taking the alledged death of Mrs John Hatch (nee Synge) in 1767 as a focal point, this book explores the varied strands of the Synge family tree in eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland. Key events in the family's history are carefully documented, including a suicide in 1769 which is echoed in an early Synge play, the effects of the famine which influenced 'The playboy of the western world' in 1907, and the behaviour of Francis Synge at the time of the union. 'The silence of Barbara Synge' is a unique work of cultural enquiry, combining archival research, literary criticism, and religious and medical history to pull the strands together and relate them to the family's literary descendent J.M.
Synge. -- .