BL. W. B. Yeats

191. Milner [Miner], Earl. ‘The Need for nô’. Review of The Drama of W. B. Yeats: Irish Myth and the Japanese Nô (180), by Richard Taylor. TLS, 25 August 1978, p. 948.


Miner is characteristically discerning and precise, and says more in this short review than many critics have managed in many pages about Yeats, Pound, and the nô: ‘An issue often raised concerns Yeats’s or Pound’s understanding of nô. The answer is that they didn’t understand it very well, but well enough for their purposes. They were not in search of influence but of confirmation. Pound wanted critical justification for Vorticism and the unity of a seemingly disjointed modern epic. Yeats wanted authority for a symbolic and poetic Irish drama. . . . The need existed quite apart from nô’. Regarding Taylor’s work itself, Miner finds it good in its account of the early plays and of Fenollosa and Pound as ‘agents of transmission’, but believes the treatment of the plays for dancers and later plays weak, and that the account of the nô itself ‘suffers from lack of acquaintance with Japanese’.





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