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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.29 pp.5-32

Studies in Yeats’s Poetry: Aristocracy as a Cultural Project

Kim Sun-jae


It is noticeable that the critics of William Butler Yeats has recently tried toelucidate the poet's aristocratic disposition in relation with his political identity.Some critics have disparaged Yeats' works of art in the light of his seemingconservative political position as an advocate of aristocracy. Other critics whodisagreed with this excessive blame have insisted that Yeats' aristocratic dispositiononly shows his self-deceptive idealism. As the poet's inclination toward aristocracyseems to suggest his conservatism or elitism, it has hindered the critics fromunderstanding and appreciating his poetry wholeheartedly. In this paper I intend toexamine the established points of the critics concerning Yeats' political identity anddemonstrate that his inclination towards aristocracy could be understood as anattempt to cultivate united national identity among the Irish. Inflamed as theworking condition of the artists in Dublin deteriorated and the social position of theAnglo-Irish Protestant fell in Irish society, the aristocratic disposition of Yeatsultimately contributed to contrive a poetic vision for national integration.
From the point of time when Yeats decided to pursue his own poetic principle,"Unity of Being," his vision of aristocracy assumed the mental and moralcharacteristic and became an ideal plan for achieving cultural nationalism among theIrish. Yeats' vision of aristocracy includes the ceremony of tradition and spiritualattitudes such as magnanimity and liberty which can be cultivated in the aristocraticsociety. According to the poet's vision, the ideal society consists of three majorgroups: the aristocrats who would lead an affluent life and support the artists, theartists and scholars who would concentrate on creating great works, and thepopulace who would appreciate their arts without any prejudice. All member ofthese groups will form a horizontal solidarity based on shared culture, which will give each member of them joyful peace and affirmative ability to embrace life.

예이츠의 문화적 기획: 귀족주의 비전



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