BL. W. B. Yeats

69. Clarke, Austin. ‘The Poetic Drama of Mr. Yeats’. Review of Wheels and Butterflies (35). London Mercury 31 (1935): 391-92.


‘In taking over the complete form of the ancient plays of Japan’, Clarke writes, Yeats ‘has presented us with an interesting artistic problem’, for while he has solved his own problem of finding an outlet for the ‘spectacular performance of poetry’, he has ‘precipitated a new conflict . . . in the mind of the audience’, since ‘the appearance of Irish mythological figures as Japanese warriors produces a bizarre effect which is the reverse of true ritualistic art’. Only in Calvary (17a) and The Resurrection (28), Clarke finds, ‘does the semi-Oriental form . . . attain harmony’, though the ‘technical necessities of the ’ have had the ‘interesting effect’ of ‘involv[ing]’ Yeats in ‘old-fashioned narration of place and event, which would have horrified him in early years’. In addition, the Japanese forms have provided ‘a romantic background’ for Yeats’s ‘belief in modern mediumship’.





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