Yeats and Joyce: Cyclical History and the Reprobate Tradition
While postcolonial studies has contributed much to our understanding of Irish modernism, it has also encouraged less-than-accurate portrayals of Joyce and Yeats as polar opposites: Yeats as the inventor of Irish mystique and Joyce as its relentless demythologiser. Alistair Cormack's complex study provides a corrective to these misleading characterisations by analysing the tools Yeats and Joyce themselves used to challenge representation in the postcolonial era. Despite their very different histories, Cormack suggests, these two writers can be seen as allies in their insistence on the heresy of the imagination. Reinvigorating and politicising the history of ideas as a powerful medium for studying literature, he shows that Joyce and Yeats independently challenged a linearity and materialism they identified with empire. Both celebrated Ireland as destabilising the accepted forms of thought and the accepted means of narrating the nation. Thus, 'unreadable' modernist works such as Finnegans Wake and A Vision must be understood as attempts to reconceptualise history in a literally postcolonial period.
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abstract aesthetic AngloIrish antithetical Archdruid argues Aristotle artist Basingstoke Beckett becomes Berkeley Blake Bloom Borges Bruno Cambridge coincidence of opposites colonial comic consciousness contraries creative critics Cyclops Deasy Deleuze described dialectic discourse Dublin Eagleton edition English esoteric essay fiction Finnegans Wake Giambattista Vico Guattari gyres Hegel Hermetic Hermeticism human Ibid idea idealism idealist history imagination Ireland Irish language James Joyce Joyce and Nationalism Joyce’s Kabbalah language literary London and Basingstoke MacCabe material materialist means mind minor literature modern nationalist Nightlessons Nolan occult OCPW offered Oxen Oxford Parmenides parody passage perhaps philosophy poem poet poetic poetry political Prolific reading reality reference represents Reprobate tradition Richard Ellmann Seamus Deane seems sense spirit Stephen suggests symbol teleology Terry Eagleton trans Ulysses Umberto Eco understand University Press Vichian Vico Vico’s Vision and Finnegans W.B. Yeats writing Yeats and Joyce Yeats’s Yeats’s Vision