Envisioning Ireland: W. B. Yeats's Occult Nationalism by Claire Nally

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By Claire Nally

Even though W. B. Yeats is among the so much over-theorised authors within the Irish canon, little test has been made to situate his occult works within the political context of early twentieth-century eire. by way of comparing the 2 models of A imaginative and prescient, released in 1925 and 1937, this e-book offers a strategy for figuring out the political and cultural impulses that trained Yeats’s engagement with the otherworld. the writer means that the Yeatsian occult operates very firmly in the political parameters of Irish nationalism, frequently as a critique of the recent unfastened kingdom, or as a substitute approach of mythologising and inaugurating a brand new state country. The occult, faraway from being freed from all political issues, registers the poet’s transferring allegiances, from the Celticism of the Eighteen Nineties to his disenchantment with glossy eire within the unfastened State.
Through shut readings of Yeats’s manuscripts and his basic and demanding works, together with an in depth evaluate of the usually ignored dramatic texts, the writer seeks to strength a rethinking of the severe reception of the Yeatsian occult via modern theoretical advancements in postcolonialism, subjectivity, nationwide identification and textual instability.

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J.  184. W. J.  61.  294 refers to the ‘de-Christianized “Protestantism”’ of John Butler Yeats, the poet’s father. 32 Chapter One Yeats … composed his own astrology in A Vision. ’ Yet to a considerable extent it is facilitated by Yeats’s experience of the Anglo-Irish Protestant Ascendancy in the nineteenth century, the social experience of that elite, and the evolution of that linguistic term. 5 This idea of Anglo-Irish emergence and decline becomes increasingly important in specific relation to a politicised reading of Yeats’s cyclical theory of the gyres, itself informed by notions of ‘primary’ and ‘antithetical’ operating in a continual movement of ascent and deterioration.

97 ‘Chosen Peoples’ by Anthony D. Smith, Ethnicity, ed.  195–6. ‘A Secret Mystical Propaganda’: The Castle of Heroes 29 links with the mobilisation of occult belief: the regeneration of the national community, with the overtones of ‘rebirth’, ‘renewal’ and ‘reawakening’, has clear affinities with both the risen dead in Yeats’s later occult, and the cyclical motions of the gyres, with the corresponding objective that the ethnic group on the decline (whether Gaelic- or Anglo-Irish) is subject to rise again in a later epoch.

39 Although Yeats’s texts from the 1880s and 1890s mark a strict essentialism, this ideology is rejected in the context of the 1920s and 1930s revisions. Owen Aherne, along with Michael Robartes, found himself excavated in A Vision of 1937. Reviewing his earlier Celtic Twilight work for the collected edition in 1907 and the Cuala edition of 1931, Yeats would have come across Owen Aherne and Michael Robartes once again, and thus in many ways, the earlier (subsequently revised) work provides clear influence 36 37 38 39 Donald T.

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