Download e-book for iPad: Imagining Ireland in the Poems and Plays of W. B. Yeats: by Anthony Bradley (auth.)

By Anthony Bradley (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230119549

ISBN-13: 9780230119543

ISBN-10: 1349532215

ISBN-13: 9781349532216

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Extra info for Imagining Ireland in the Poems and Plays of W. B. Yeats: Nation, Class, and State

Example text

As Benedict Anderson argues in his by now classic study of nationalism, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983, 1991), nationalism is preoccupied, among other things, with death and immortality, and in this regard it is quite unlike, for example, Marxism, or any merely political ideology, and considerably more like religion. 25 The emphasis in Irish nationalism on the immortality of those who died for the nation has a familiar appearance from the nineteenth century to the present time.

48 Less flattering, perhaps, he seems from the start to have associated the supernatural women of the faeries, their seductive, regal, and destructive power with Gonne; the lover in these poems can only think of his own death or a more general destruction as the consequence of his inability to satisfy the demands of the beloved. Thinking of her death gives some of this early poetry the emotional structure of liebestod; this tendency takes an almost Gothic turn in “A Dream of Death” (“And they had nailed the boards above her face”) and “He Wishes His Beloved Were Dead” (“O would, beloved, that you lay / Under the dock leaves in the ground”).

46 Yeats’s “Paudeen” expresses satiric indignation at the mentality of the shopkeeper class: Indignant at the fumbling wits, the obscure spite Of our old Paudeen in his shop, I stumbled blind Among the stones and thorn-trees, under morning light; What suggested this title to Yeats is not clear; it is belittling, full of class and sectarian condescension, although the diminutive form Paudeen must have suggested affection at one time—whatever its origins, the name implies for Yeats the contempt bred by familiarity.

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Imagining Ireland in the Poems and Plays of W. B. Yeats: Nation, Class, and State by Anthony Bradley (auth.)


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