BL. W. B. Yeats


131. Ishibashi, Hiro. Yeats and the Noh: Types of Japanese Beauty and Their Reflection in Yeats’s Plays. Edited by Anthony Kerrigan. In Dolmen Press Yeats Centenary Papers MCMLXV, no. 6. Dublin: Dolmen, 1966.

Traces the ‘ideal of beauty’ in the nô, as outlined by Zeami (Ap), and discusses the degree to which this ideal is understood or, more commonly, misunderstood in Yeats’s ‘dance plays’, though remains sympathetic to Yeats throughout. Concludes that ‘a creation . . . can be born of a misunderstanding’. Includes photographs and illustrations ‘selected to present correspondence between Yeats’s approach to the Noh and the art of the Noh as practiced in Japan’, and provides details of Yeats’s direct experience of Japanese subjects drawn here from conversations with his wife: Yeats was ‘very fond’ of The Tale of Genji (see D26c) and hinamatsuri dolls (celebratory dolls associated with the annual ‘girl’s festival’ and the ancient imperial court); he owned at least two nô masks (see also 47c), one of which he used as ‘a symbol of meditation’; and he saw a ‘fragmentary, amateur performance’ of Hagoromo (BK13d) in London and ‘heard a recording [of the same play] for gramophone made by professional Noh actors’. Incorporates ‘Yeats to nôgaku’ [Yeats and nô], Geibun kenkyû 7 (1957): 84-105.

a. Appendix: Yeats and Zen. Useful notes about Yeats’s late interest in Zen Buddhism, especially his reading of and correspondence with Suzuki. Concludes that ‘it should not be forgotten that Yeats’s later interest in the Noh developed in this direction, and that some of his later poems could be re-examined in this light’. Includes a 1928 letter from Yeats to Suzuki (53). See also 113.





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