BL. W. B. Yeats


96. Kermode, Frank. ‘The Dancer’. In Romantic Image. London: Routledge and Paul, 1957. Reprint, London: Ark, 1986.

Remarks here about Yeats and the nô are brief (pp. 77-80) but important, and have influenced the way later critics have understood the subject. No earlier work had noted the degree to which Yeats’s developing dramatic theories had prepared him for his reception of the nô. The point has been made many times since 1957, but Kermode’s statement of it remains among the most eloquent: ‘Much of [Yeats’s] earlier thought on the drama must have seemed to him a steady, though unwitting, progress in the direction of the nô; he almost invented it himself. . . . Everything [he] could discover about the plays confirmed him in opinions long held’, and ‘every aspect of the technique and presentation  . . . must have struck Yeats as certain proof of the soundness of his own theory of drama’. Includes remarks about Zeami (Ap) and his ‘flower’ of nô, yûgen (see BJ22 and BK72).





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