A Critical Edition of Yeats's A Vision (1925)

Springer

The most baffling and misunderstood of Yeats's works, A Vision (1925), which is greatly different from the 1937 version, has been long out of print and is almost inaccessible. The editors have shown in introduction and notes how directly dependent Yeats was upon the experiments of his wife with automatic writing and dream visions (covering a period of six years and preserved in thirty-nine notebooks containing some 4000 manuscript pages). As Yeats wrote in the first draft of the Dedication, 'I declare that I have nto invented one detail of this system'. 'This task has been laid upon me by those who cannot speak being dead and who if I fail may never find another interpreter'. Although Yeats liked to quote Plato's admonition that none should enter the doors of the Academy who were 'ignorant of geometry'. The symbolic forms of psychic geometry outlined in A Vision were not in fact based on Plato, Swedenborg, or others of the classical writers Yeats often cited but rather on the experiments and thinking of his many friends and fellow students in the Order of the Golden Dawn and in the Society for Psychical Research. BY inquiring into the conception of A Vision and the circumstances and people surrounding Yeats while it was beign written, and by annotating the hundreds of unidentified allusions and references to art, philosophy, and literature, the editors have illuminated one of the strangest spiritual autobiographies of our time.
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Om forfatteren

GEORGE MILLS HARPER is Professor of English at Florida State University. He is the author of The Neoplatonism of William Blake, Yeats's Golden Dawn, there monographs in the Dolmen Press's Yeats Paper and many articles in learned journals. He si the editor of Yeats and the Occult, co-editor (with Richard J. Finneran and William M. Murphy) of Letters to W. B. Yeats, co-editor (with Kathleen Raine) of Thomas Taylor the Platonist: Selected Writings, and a contributing editor to A Concordance to the Writings of William Blake. A former President of the College of English Association, he has lectured widely on Yeats in Europe and America.

WALTER K. HOOD has been Instructor at the University of North Carolina, Assistant Professor at St. Louis University and is now Professor at Tennessee Technological University. Having written his honor's thesis, M.A. thesis, and Ph.D. dissertation (all at the University of North Carolina) on Yeats's thought and art and having lectured on and published several papers about A Vision, Professor Hood has devoted most of his academic life to the study of Yeats.
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Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Feb 9, 2016
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Pages
364
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ISBN
9781349031511
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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INTRODUCTION.

Dr. Corbett, Bishop of Oxford and Norwich, lamented long ago the departure of the English fairies. "In Queen Mary's time" he wrote—


"When Tom came home from labour, Or Cis to milking rose, Then merrily, merrily went their tabor, And merrily went their toes."

But now, in the times of James, they had all gone, for "they were of the old profession," and "their songs were Ave Maries." In Ireland they are still extant, giving gifts to the kindly, and plaguing the surly. "Have you ever seen a fairy or such like?" I asked an old man in County Sligo. "Amn't I annoyed with them," was the answer. "Do the fishermen along here know anything of the mermaids?" I asked a woman of a village in County Dublin. "Indeed, they don't like to see them at all," she answered, "for they always bring bad weather." "Here is a man who believes in ghosts," said a foreign sea-captain, pointing to a pilot of my acquaintance. "In every house over there," said the pilot, pointing to his native village of Rosses, "there are several." Certainly that now old and much respected dogmatist, the Spirit of the Age, has in no manner made his voice heard down there. In a little while, for he has gotten a consumptive appearance of late, he will be covered over decently in his grave, and another will grow, old and much respected, in his place, and never be heard of down there, and after him another and another and another. Indeed, it is a question whether any of these personages will ever be heard of outside the newspaper offices and lecture-rooms and drawing-rooms and eel-pie houses of the cities, or if the Spirit of the Age is at any time more than a froth. At any rate, whole troops of their like will not change the Celt much. Giraldus Cambrensis found the people of the western islands a trifle paganish. "How many gods are there?" asked a priest, a little while ago, of a man from the Island of Innistor. "There is one on Innistor; but this seems a big place," said the man, and the priest held up his hands in horror, as Giraldus had, just seven centuries before.


I.

At the end of the eighties my father and mother, my brother and sisters and myself, all newly arrived from Dublin, were settled in Bedford Park in a red-brick house with several wood mantlepieces copied from marble mantlepieces by the brothers Adam, a balcony, and a little garden shadowed by a great horse-chestnut tree. Years before we had lived there, when the crooked, ostentatiously picturesque streets, with great trees casting great shadows, had been anew enthusiasm: the Pre-Raphaelite movement at last affecting life. But now exaggerated criticism had taken the place of enthusiasm; the tiled roofs, the first in modern London, were said to leak, which they did not, and the drains to be bad, though that was no longer true; and I imagine that houses were cheap. I remember feeling disappointed because the co-operative stores, with their little seventeenth century panes, were so like any common shop; and because the public house, called 'The Tabard' after Chaucer's Inn, was so plainly a common public house; and because the great sign of a trumpeter designed by Rooke, the Pre-Raphaelite artist, had been freshened by some inferior hand. The big red-brick church had never pleased me, and I was accustomed, when I saw the wooden balustrade that ran along the slanting edge of the roof, where nobody ever walked or could walk, to remember the opinion of some architect friend of my father's, that it had been put there to keep the birds from falling off. Still, however, it had some village characters and helped us to feel not wholly lost in the metropolis. I no longer went to church as a regular habit, but go I sometimes did, for one Sunday morning I saw these words painted on a board in the porch: 'The congregation are requested to kneel during prayers; the kneelers are afterwards to be hung upon pegs provided for the purpose.' In front of every seat hung a little cushion, and these cushions were called 'kneelers.' Presently the joke ran through the community, where there were many artists, who considered religion at best an unimportant accessory to good architecture and who disliked that particular church.

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