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DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2000.13.123
윌리엄 예이츠와 셰이머스 히니의 시에 나타난 아일랜드 카톨릭 민족주의: 종교적 정체성의 문제
고려대
Irish Catholic Nationalism of W. B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney in Their Mid-Period Poetry: The Problem of Religious Identity
,

Korea University
Abstract
In my article titled “Nationalism of William B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney in their early poetry: mythic nationalism and realistic national consciousness” which was published in The Journal of English Language & Literature Vol. 45 No. 3, I analyzed three among four factors of nationalism (implicated) in the two poets’ early poetry, that is, ethnicity, language, territory. This article deals with one remaining factor of nationalism, religion, in their middle poetry.
Religion is so powerful an influence in Ireland that Irish nationalism can be considered Irish Catholic Nationalism. The political, religious, and economic conflicts between Anglo-Irish Protestants and Catholic Irish made Ireland divided into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, after Ireland was liberated from British imperialism in 1922. The native Irish who had lost even their mother tongue, Gaelic during the colonial period of almost 800 years ruled by the British Empire sought their national identity in Catholicism and made the religious oppression of Britain their centripetal force.
To Yeats, religion was not a dogmatic faith of institutionalized religion but a field in which his imagination of the supernatural is allowed full play to go beyond the ephemeral real world to the eternal spiritual world. He set the Irish religious identity on Irish countrymen’s native faith in faerie, ghost, eternity of soul, and the world of magic expressed in Irish legends, folklore, myths, and oral traditions. He satisfied his hunger for the ultimate truth of universe with the Irish ancient faith in the mystical world of the everlasting soul and the visionary as well as various kinds of mysticism in the East and the West. The mystical religious identity of the native Irish emphasized by him anticipated the continuous collisions among him, the Catholic pulpit and Irish nationalists. His romantic belief in a heroic spiritual Ireland materialized his Irish Literary Movement and his idealized Anglo-Irish Ascendancy culture was far from the political nationalism of the middle class of Ireland, the political class of the people democracy.
Seamus Heaney has also suffered from the conflict between his cultural? political ideals which are fundamentally Ireland-centered and the political reality of the violent IRA (Irish Republican Army) which kills even civilians at random for the cause of nationalism. To Heaney the religious faith was a recognition of the deep value of the religious ritual and the Catholic ritual has been internalized in his feminine poetic sensibility of patience, humility, duty, discipline, guiltiness, grace, wonder, and the ritual supplication. The Irish religious identity he put an emphasis on was not the visionary mystic one of Yeats but the real one which has been internalized in the minds of the native Catholic Irish as “self-afflicting compulsions” and spiritual paralysis, especially in terms of political martyrdom complex in IRA and historical defeatism of Catholic priests in Northern Ireland.
Both Heaney and Yeats opposed violence of nationalism and sought their ideal one. Religion has had a devastating influence on the two tribal struggle in Ireland so that the two poets refused the established Christianity and tried to enhance Irish republican nationalism to the genuine nationalism allowing the peaceful co-existence of the two races living in Ireland. Heaney demythodized Yeats’s myth of the political martyrdom and denied the religious halo of Irish nationalism as well as the mythodized force in the history of the Northern Europe. His quest of democratic co-existence of plural culture in Ulster seems realistic and idealistic solution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

 



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