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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.22 pp.143-163

Out of Myth into History: Women in W. B. Yeats and Eavan Boland

Huh Hyun Sook


It has been argued that poetry is male dominated field. As Pound would quoteto H. D., ‘You are a poem though your poem's nought,’ woman has often beenassigned as an image for poems, not as the creative subject; as the object to bewritten about not as the subject who writes. In short, it has been a burden for awoman to write poetry in male dominated literary tradition. And some women onwriting their emotion or thought in poetry have to follow the language usagedictated by men, not by themselves. So it is that women poets choose their way ofwriting poetry in following the traditional male conventions or in subverting themale conventions within the tradition. Specifically in Ireland, a country of fraternalorders, woman has been a muse for poets or a tricky mouthpiece: it would not becapricious to argue that the most estimable woman in modern Irish poetry wasMaud Gonne or Crazy Jane from Yeats, who has continually influenced thegenerations of Irish poets that have followed him. The women in his poetic workssometimes ‘talked of poetry,’ as in “Adams's Curse,” but that discourse is aone-sided one, not for or on the women's active participation in writing poetry. Andthe women in his works are the medium for Yeats to express his cultural patriotismas well as his love for women, including Maud Gonne. He is a sort of propagandistexpressing the patriotic notion through the mythic women who control men such asQueen Maeve or idealized women who have been caring for men or worshipped bymen. His women are the mythified ones demanding the death of their lovers. Theyare not the real women living every day life and having their own desire to expressthemselves. His crazy Jane is also another type of mythic power: she is, so tospeak, a witch who opposes the bishop and calls down midnight curses on the forces of organized society. Crazy Jane is Yeats's Other, a strategy for expressingforbidden marginal materials and is ‘outside history.’
The generation that followed Yeats has an influence from him that could beoverpowering, and this generation should be conscious of the Irish literary condition.Within that tradition, Eavan Boland argues, women are facing the dual stresses asan Irish poet and as a woman poet -‘two identities.’ She sensed the change that“women have moved from being the subjects and objects of Irish poems to beingthe authors of them.” And the women Boland depicts in her works are the realones, and their fear, pleasure, fulfilment, regrets, dangers, and so on are conveyedwithin the Irish scene. In these materials, she integrates the personal and nationalclaims in some poems. So she raises a question about her own place as a poet:who is the poet, and what does she or he nominate as a proper theme for poetry.In the Irish cultural convention woman has been regarded as a land, subjected toEnglish colonialism, restricted, and marginalised. It resulted in women being placedas idealized, simplified, passive images in poetry. Boland tries to restore femaleidentity in terms of a true human identity. How that construct itself was to limitBoland in her works. However, this is not the traditional way but the subversivediscourse on women, a way toward the powerlessness of an experience through thepower of expressing it. In this way, she recreates women's experiences as livinghistory.

신화에서 역사로: 예이츠와 이반 볼란드 시에서의 여성*



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