BL. W. B. Yeats


257. Ellis, Sylvia C. ‘Japan, Japonisme and Japonaiserie’. In The Plays of W. B. Yeats: Yeats and the Dancer. London: Macmillan, 1995. Reprint 1999.

Ellis’s knowledge of Japanese subjects is suspect, as when she credits Fenollosa with ‘reinsitut[ing] Noh theatre into the . . . cultural life’ of Japan, or does not realise that Lafcadio Hearn and Koizumi Yakumo are the same person, yet her work is valuable for its careful account of Yeats’s pre-1913 knowledge of Japan, and its extensive chronicling of Japanese subjects before the public eye in Britain from 1860 to 1920, including Japanese exhibitions, books on Japan, theatre performances, and especially articles about Japan and Japanese subjects in the Times, more than forty of which are quoted, often at length. Ultimately one must agree with Ellis’s thesis, suggested first by Miner (in A25) but demonstrated more convincingly here, that ‘Yeats already knew something of Japanese culture and art . . . for some years before being made familiar with the Fenollosa writings’. Includes analysis of similarities and dissimilarities between Yeats’s post-1916 drama and the nô, and well-understood accounts of the importance to this subject of Craig (see D17) and Whistler (Ap).





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