Naru's Happy Travel
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2002.18.137
예이츠의 문학적 이상: 켈트의 황혼
용인대
W. B. Yeats’s Literary Ideal: Celtic Twilight
,

Abstract
The philosophical idea behind ‘The Celtic Twilight’ has never properly been studied. My firm belief is that our full understanding of the work of Yeats is impossible without our thorough recognition of his philosophical idea behind ‘The Celtic Twilight’ in his poetic development. That is why I am going to offer this study as a beginning of the exploration of ‘The Celtic Twilight’ in order to throw light on his literary ideal in his formative years.
The Celtic Twilight School, of which W. B. Yeats was the acknowledged, became fashionable during the nineties and had considerable influence: its delicate impressionism, its shadowy themes, other-worldly longings and subtle wavering rhythms were in accord with the Fin de Siecle Movement.
‘The Celtic Twilight’ of the last decade of the century was no new phenomenon in literature. It was essentially a re-naming and re-ordering of a familiar trait, the ‘folk spirit’, marked by the heightened passions and superstitions common to all literature rising from the people, and given new life by the recent scientific studies of folklore and myth culminating in Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough in 1890. In addition, it possessed a strong tendency towards melancholy which attracted the mystics of Maeterlinck’s school. But the new elements in ‘The Celtic Twilight’ was a sense of place, as opposed to a vague atmosphere. Life and mood became more pointed by the close relationship between nature and emotion. In a general sense this element of the Celtic spirit could be considered a natural outgrowth of the Pantheism or nature-worship of the Romantics influenced by the mystics’ renewed interest in Druidism; more specifically it arose from a self-conscious intellectual attempt to inject fresh life into well-known themes and develop a new approach to old form.
The symbolist turns from the barren glass of the outer world to the truth embodied in his own heart. To be brought beyond the limitations of his individual being, however, and into communion with the Great Mind and Memory of the Universe, he needs also a ‘traditional mythology’. Yeats turned for this tradition and mythology to the legend and folklore of his own country, for like Synge and Lady Gregory he believed that Irish peasant was untouched by the materialism and scientific investigations resulting from the restless Renaissance, that the Irish peasant still maintained contact with the mystery and imagination that existed before man fell a slave to the external world. His search, consequently, was for the traditions which lay buried in peasants’ huts and cottages.
Yeats was an Irish poet on one hand, and a poet interested in magic and occult on the other. Beginning in 1889, he began to integrate his interests and goals, attempting to become one man - an Irish poet, using Irish subject matter, welding into his technique and statements the substance of magic and mythology. As a poet with ambitions to make a ‘new utterance’, Yeats depended on what he could make of the Celtic past for two main reasons: first, his interests and beliefs had directed him toward finding a kind of Ur-mythology from the time when he first discovered the correspondence between Indian, Hermetic, Theosophic, and Blakean thought; second, and of equal importance, was his position as an outsider in contemporary Ireland, his position as an Anglo-Irishman. Yeats turned to pre-Christian Celtic mythology for the basis of his subject matter both to root his poetry and his own sense of being an Irish poet; he sought a mythology for his poetry and for himself. And he claimed that the artists through their “contact with the soil”, that is, the folk, could create a national literature, since folklore is “the soil where all great art is rooted”. Then he studied and used magic, visions, profound legends, Celtic mythologies, poetic traditions, folklore, and history of the Celtic past to make ‘the old culture of Celtic Ireland’ and ‘exaltation of life itself’ come alive and reaffirm the power of imagination and hope.
Accordingly his poetry of ‘The Celtic Twilight’ is an affirmation of folklore and mythology. Folklore and mythology are the tools with which to open the Celtic past, make it present, and thus create a great art rooted in the soil of Folk-belief. Folklore was in Yeats’s eyes the perfect expression of the intermediate world in which gods and mortals met, because the peasants regarded the natural objects around him as signs of divine essences. They had, like the ancient Greeks, mythologized their ‘haunted’ surroundings in stories passed on to many later generations through an oral tradition, thus not only preserving the truth about the divine reality, but also producing a heritage still applicable to everyday life.
Yeats claimed that Ireland had created ‘the most beautiful literature of a whole people that had been anywhere since Greece and Rome’, while English literature is ‘yet the literature of a few’. The reason was that ‘Irish stories had been made to be spoken or sung’, while English literature ‘had all but completely shaped itself in the printing-press’. Therefore Yeats’s literary ideal was to bridge the written and unwritten traditions, to establish a learned literary tradition on emotions that came from the heart of the people, and so create from the shock of new material and from a tradition that had never found expression in sophisticated literature a new style, a new mood of the soul.
In his poetic career he has sought out an ‘image that blossoms a rose’ deep in the heart, an image that makes ‘all nature murmur in response if but a single note be touched’, and has created a literature that ‘taps the secret spring of all our lives’ and achieves the enduring beauty of great art.

 

  

Designed by hikaru100

나눔글꼴 설치 안내


이 PC에는 나눔글꼴이 설치되어 있지 않습니다.

이 사이트를 나눔글꼴로 보기 위해서는
나눔글꼴을 설치해야 합니다.

설치 취소

SketchBook5,스케치북5

SketchBook5,스케치북5

SketchBook5,스케치북5

SketchBook5,스케치북5