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‘Melancholy’ and Postcolonial ‘Politics’ in W. B. Yeats Case

Gu Jakwang

Abstract

In the period of nationalism, W. B. Yeats's works address the loss of nationand resolute fights for independence and remembrance of the fighters killed in thestruggles. Freudian ideas of mourning and melancholy and moral masochism andJacques Ranciere's ideas of colonial 'policy' or 'police order' and postcolonial'politics' can provide effective tools to understand characteristics of the post-colonialworks by Yeats.
By putting side by side Freud and Ranciere, we can produce a combination ofmourning-colonial police-order vs. melancholy-post-colonial politics. The colonialpolice-order induces the colonized Ego to forget the loss of nation and move on toother objects, for example, money, through mourning. Melancholic post-colonialfighters derail the workings of mourning espoused by the colonial policy or policeorder. Melancholy and moral masochism of the colonized Ego are the driving forcesof post-colonial struggles. Melancholy of the colonized Ego and sadism of theSuper-Egoic demand of independence and moral masochism of the colonized Egocan explicate the bloody and 'erotic' relationships between the colonized Ego and thewomanized ideal of nation, which have been interpreted as 'fatal mistress,' 'eroticizedpolitics' and 'vampirism' by many Yeats critics. But melancholy and moralmasochism drove the colonized Ego to fall into a fatal love relation with the femalesymbol of nation demanding unconditional sacrifice of the colonized Ego, whichrenders 'eroticized politics' and 'vampirism' noticeable.
The nationalist poets incite melancholy of the colonized by recording the deathsof freedom fighters, which in turn will cause melancholy in the colonized people.Evoking melancholy of the colonized leading to moral masochism in their worksjust by calling the names of the dead fighters, the nationalist poets perform post-colonial fights without campaigning any propagandas. Nationalist poets act'politically' by demanding remembrance of the (un)dead fighters through their works.

‘멜랑콜리’와 탈식민 ‘정치’: W. B. 예이츠의 경우

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