Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Unique Yeats, Unique Ireland/YEATS UNIQUE, IRLANDE UNIQUE

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Unique Yeats, Unique Ireland/YEATS UNIQUE, IRLANDE UNIQUE

Article excerpt

Abstract:

W.B. Yeats is considered as one of the most outstanding poets in the world because of his excellent talent and patriotism. However, many people neglect the influence of Irish cultural background on him. This paper is aimed at discussing the uniqueness of Ireland as well as its significant influence on Yeats from the perspectives of history, culture, music and nationalism.

Key words: W.B.Yeats, Ireland, nationalism

Résumé: W.B. Yeats est considéré comme l'un des poètes les plus célèbres du monde grâce à son talent et son patriotisme. Néanmoins, beaucoup négligent l'influence de la culture irlandaise sur lui. L'article présent vise à étudier l'originalité de l'Irlande et son influence significative exercée sur Yeats dans les perspectives de l'histoire, de la culture, de la musique et du nationalisme.

Mots-Clés: W.B. Yeats, Irlande, nationalisme

Ireland is a unique country with a rich history, magnificent cultures and breathtaking landscapes. Of all its splendors, literature, especially poetry plays a very important role. A great many outstanding poets came from this land, including James Joyce, Seamus Heaney and W.B.Yeats. All of them possess the uniqueness of Irish features, especially Yeats, the greatest lyric poet Ireland has ever produced.

William Butler Yeats was Ireland's leading poet, chief architect of the Irish Literary Revival, and, according to T.S. Eliot, "one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them."2 Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for what the Nobel Committee described as "his always inspired poetry which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation". His success is due to not only his talents and efforts, but also to the inspirations he got from his beloved Ireland.

Yeats' work is special because it contains an Irish nationalism. Much of his writing stems from his love for his nation, and many of his works have been served as a prototype to other aspiring patriots. Consequently, Yeats' work has influenced the future of Ireland. When Ireland achieved her independence, she faced a problem of her own identity. Time called for a reevaluation of Irish heritage. At that turning point, Yeats became Ireland's spokesman. Although Yeats' family moved to London when he was two and he lived there until he was sixteen, his mother's Irish songs and stories kept him connected to Ireland. Yeats' first collection of poetry being published in 1889 has already showed his concern which was to remain central to his writing- Ireland. In one of his letters, he mentioned that his work has been done in every detail with a deliberate Irish aim. His early works are mainly budding nationalistic, trying to unite the cultural and political aspects of the emerging movement. Later, increased involvement with nationalist politics made his diction plainer, his syntax tighter, while the traditional form was maintained. During the Irish Literature Revival, Yeats played a key role. As a cultural nationalist, Yeats knew what he wanted to achieve must be reconstructed from the bottom up, so he preferred to decentralize cultural societies to inspire everyone in the community by drawing their attention to their common heritage. Easter 1916 might be the culminating work in Yeats' establishment of Irish identity. In this poem, he expresses a fear of the future and a disapproval of crazed ideologues.

All changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.3

These lines imply the turn of Yeats and Ireland at the time. Yeats asserts that Ireland and its people have been "changed utterly". He memorializes the people who sacrificed their lives in the Easter Rebellion as a tribute to transform themselves and the history of Ireland. By using "terrible" to describe "beauty" Yeats expresses his mixed feeling of admiration and disgust about the independence of Ireland. …

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