Naru's Happy Travel
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2010.34.123
W. B. 예이츠와 중심의 부재*
부산대
원고접수일: 2010년 10월 10일, 수정일: 2010년 11월 15일, 게재확정일: 2010년 12월 10일
W. B. Yeats and Absence of the Center
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Abstract
Faced with an unknown and uncertain reality in the early 20th century, W. B. Yeats is poignantly aware of the impossibility of objective truth as well as of ineffectiveness of all traditional modes of acquiring knowledge. He well recognizes that there is no center or a focal point of reference in a reality, which is sought over and over again. “The Second Coming” well expresses the absence of a fixed center or origin of experience in Yeats’s historical system. It shows that there is a non-locus at the center of all history, of all thinking, speech, writing, and action. “The Three Beggars” also gives a vivid illustration of how empty meaning swirls around a missing center and the lack of foundation, which is well represented by the three beggars’ collapse. Another poem “Among School Children” suggests that despite one’s efforts, one cannot arrive at “Presences,” which, like the answers to Yeats’s final rhetorical questions, are endlessly deferred.
Despite such the limits and deferral of meaning, Yeats never gives up to assign meaning to the fragmentary reality by declaring and creating a symbol. In “A Dialogue of Self and Soul” the Self asserts the emblematic status of Sato’s sword and its covering. In “Blood and the Moon” Yeats again assigns meaning overtly by declaring the tower his symbol, though the poet in its last stanza, recognizing that ultimate wisdom is deferred beyond life, self-reflexively uses a metaphor of the blood stain to encode the limits of human understanding. In “1916 Easter” Yeats demonstrates what he can do as his part of a poet with the fragmentary reality. He calls each victim of the Easter Rebellion by name and writes it in verse, which denotes a bricolargic strategy of using the only language at hand to impose meaning on the painfully unresolved ambiguities of the Rebellion, even if he not only well recognizes that he can attribute no ‘truth-value’ to this transmutation, but also no longer expects to arrive at the final meaning of the political event in his poem.


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