"Bringing a new soul into Ireland": literary culture and poetics of orality in W. B. Yeats's early critical writings

Author: Pietrzak, Wit
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2015, vol. 41, iss. 1, pp. [145]-156
Extent
[145]-156
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
The paper focuses on W. B. Yeats's idea of literary culture as it was theorised in his early essays and articles, with a particular attention directed to Ideas of Good and Evil and uncollected reviews spanning the last decade of the XIX century. It is argued here that Yeats projects his vision of a society as organised around poetic symbols that percolate down to the people like in ancient oral cultures. Instead of a politically-motivated and prejudiced nationalist ideology, Yeats proposes a religion of art that demands both a serious belief in the mystical insight conveyed by poetry and a constant questioning of this insight which is based on the notion that the true meaning of symbol cannot be fully understood. Thus Yeats's project of the literary culture is shown to have been pitched against the prevalent XIX century Irish nationalist dogmas that were promoted by old-school writers and political activists in the like of Charles Gavan Duffy.
Note
  • The article has been written within the framework of the project financed by The National Science Centre, Cracow, Poland, pursuant to the decision number DEC-2013/09/D/HS2/02782. When completing the paper the author has been supported by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP).
Document
References:
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