Religion and Politics in the Poetry of W.B. Yeats

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Previous critics have paid insufficient attention to the political implications of Yeats's life-long preoccupation with a wide range of Western and Eastern religious traditions. Though he always preserved some skepticism about mysticism's ability to reshape the material world, the early Yeats valued the mystical idea of oneness in part because he hoped (mistakenly, as it turned out) that such oneness would bring Catholic and Protestant Ireland together in a way that might make the goals of Irish nationalism easier to accomplish. Yeats's celebration of mystical oneness does not reflect a pseudo-fascistic commitment to a static, oppressive unity. Like most mystics—and ... continued below

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vi, 207 leaves

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Yoo, Baekyun August 1997.

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Previous critics have paid insufficient attention to the political implications of Yeats's life-long preoccupation with a wide range of Western and Eastern religious traditions. Though he always preserved some skepticism about mysticism's ability to reshape the material world, the early Yeats valued the mystical idea of oneness in part because he hoped (mistakenly, as it turned out) that such oneness would bring Catholic and Protestant Ireland together in a way that might make the goals of Irish nationalism easier to accomplish. Yeats's celebration of mystical oneness does not reflect a pseudo-fascistic commitment to a static, oppressive unity. Like most mystics—and most modernists—Yeats conceived of both religious and political oneness not as a final end but rather as an ongoing process, a "way of happening" (as Auden put it).

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vi, 207 leaves

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  • August 1997

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Yoo, Baekyun. Religion and Politics in the Poetry of W.B. Yeats, dissertation, August 1997; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278080/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .