Yeats's Political Identities: Selected Essays

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Jonathan Allison
University of Michigan Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 352 pages
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There are as many versions of W. B. Yeats as there are readers of his work: he is the poet of totalitarian force for some, the cultural nationalist and agent of decolonization for others; he is the elegist of the Anglo-Irish, yet also the witness of transcendental vision. In Yeats's Political Identities Jonathan Allison collects some of the most trenchant essays of the last three decades on what Yeats's politics were and how important they are for reading his work.
The volume's fifteen essays on Yeats--some original, some previously published--are culled from sources on both sides of the Atlantic. Opening with an introductory reflection on the poet's reception, Allison then turns to Conor Cruise O'Brien's influential 1965 article on Yeats's authoritarian leanings. The essays that follow cover a wide range of related topics, including Yeats's relationships to fascism, nationalism, colonialism, and the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy. The closing section of the book comprises a group of essays that respond to earlier meditations on the political resonance of the poet's work. Finally, an annotated bibliography provides brief commentary on other work on the politics of Yeats's writing.
The title of the collection speaks to the complexity of this important figure, and warns against adopting too simplistic a view of his career and significance. It hopes to suggest the diversity of critical opinion on Yeats's politics currently in circulation, as well as the divergent political identities the poet embraced during his lifetime. Inevitably with such an anthology, many of these essays speak to each other, or argue against each other, across theoretical, political, and intellectual divides.
Contributors include Hazard Adams, George Bornstein, Ronald Bush, Elizabeth Cullingford, Seamus Deane, Roy Foster, Maurice Harmon, Seamus Heaney, Marjorie Howes, Richard Kearney, Declan Kiberd, David Krause, David Lloyd, Edna Longley, and Augustine Martin.
This book will have particular appeal for students of Yeats and his world, but it will also interest students of Irish literature, history, and culture and of modernism more generally. Those who study the aesthetics of reception and the relationship between literature and politics will also find it useful.
Jonathan Allison is Associate Professor of English, University of Kentucky.
There are as many versions of W. B. Yeats as there are readers of his work: he is the poet of totalitarian force for some, the cultural nationalist and agent of decolonization for others; he is the elegist of the Anglo-Irish, yet also the witness of transcendental vision. In Yeats's Political Identities Jonathan Allison collects some of the most trenchant essays of the last three decades on what Yeats's politics were and how important they are for reading his work.
The volume's fifteen essays on Yeats--some original, some previously published--are culled from sources on both sides of the Atlantic. Opening with an introductory reflection on the poet's reception, Allison then turns to Conor Cruise O'Brien's influential 1965 article on Yeats's authoritarian leanings. The essays that follow cover a wide range of related topics, including Yeats's relationships to fascism, nationalism, colonialism, and the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy. The closing section of the book comprises a group of essays that respond to earlier meditations on the political resonance of the poet's work. Finally, an annotated bibliography provides brief commentary on other work on the politics of Yeats's writing.
The title of the collection speaks to the complexity of this important figure, and warns against adopting too simplistic a view of his career and significance. It hopes to suggest the diversity of critical opinion on Yeats's politics currently in circulation, as well as the divergent political identities the poet embraced during his lifetime. Inevitably with such an anthology, many of these essays speak to each other, or argue against each other, across theoretical, political, and intellectual divides.
Contributors include Hazard Adams, George Bornstein, Ronald Bush, Elizabeth Cullingford, Seamus Deane, Roy Foster, Maurice Harmon, Seamus Heaney, Marjorie Howes, Richard Kearney, Declan Kiberd, David Krause, David Lloyd, Edna Longley, and Augustine Martin.
This book will have particular appeal for students of Yeats and his world, but it will also interest students of Irish literature, history, and culture and of modernism more generally. Those who study the aesthetics of reception and the relationship between literature and politics will also find it useful.
Jonathan Allison is Associate Professor of English, University of Kentucky.
 

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Contents

An Essay on the Politics
29
Introduction to Passion and Cunning and Other Essays
57
W B Yeats and the Spell
83
Gender Sexuality and Crisis in Yeatss
107
Yeats and the Idea of Revolution
133
Inventing Irelands
145
Myth and Terror Excerpt
165
State Excerpt
181
Yeats Stevens and
235
In the Midst of the Force Field
257
Yeats Joyce and the Irish Critical Debate
279
The DeYeatsification Cabal
293
Yeats and Antithetical Nationalism
309
The Modernist under Siege
328
Select Annotated Bibliography
335
Contributors
349

Michael Robartes
203
Yeats Austin Clarke and Sean OFaolain
221

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About the author (1996)

Jonathan Allison is associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

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