BL. W. B. Yeats

64. Reviews of Four Plays for Dancers (17), 1921-22.


a. ‘The Wizardry of Mr. Yeats’. Saturday Review (London) 132 (1921): 643. The first of many works to suggest that Yeats discovered in the nô more of a sanction than a point of departure: ‘We take the liberty of suggesting that the art of Mr. Yeats would have developed in precisely the same direction had not the Noh plays been discovered to the Occident’. Finds the work a ‘beautiful experiment . . . doomed to have no posterity’. Includes reference to the nô itself and to ‘the art of Itow’ (Itô, Ap).

b. Colum, Padraic. ‘A New Dramatic Art’. Dial 72 (1922): 302-04. One may sense the remoteness of the nô in 1922 Europe and America in Colum’s description of the form, as well as how thoroughly discourse about it had been shaped by Pound and Yeats: ‘The Noh . . . is concerned with the disembodied. . . . The excitement that it holds is partly the excitement of the séance. It dramatizes too—we have hardly any way of expressing this—a place—the revelation of a place, the legend of a place’. Yeats’s technique is close enough to this form, according to Colum, that ‘one must have the Noh plays published by . . . Pound . . . [BK24] in mind’ while reading his plays, for he ‘has brought [the nô] into the circle of his own art’, so that he may be ‘abstract and circumstantial, dramatic and lyrical, expressionistic and traditional’, and ‘above all’ may be ‘ritualistic’.

c. ‘Plays for Dancers: Mr. Yeats Employs a Japanese Model’. Springfield Daily Republican, 8 March 1922, p. 12. Despite the title, does not discuss the ‘model’ beyond noting in one sentence that Yeats has turned to Japan to find it.





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