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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.71 pp.21-34

India in Yeats’s Early Poetry

Manashi Bora
Gauhati University, Assam (India)


Yeats’s interest in India and the influence of Indian writers and thinkers as well as Indian philosophy on his entire oeuvre has received considerable scholarly attention. Yeats’s interest in India may be due to the Western interest in the Orient during the days of colonialism and modernism’s syncretic trait which is in evidence in the work of Eliot, Pound, and other modernists. Yeats’s interests were in fact multifarious and his engagement with the Celtic past, the Orient, the occult, historical events, etc. are manifest in the different genres he enriched, making him a seminal Irish writer of the twentieth century. This paper aims to explore three early poems of Yeats (published in 1889) which are based on India to investigate the way he uses Indian settings, and ideas derived from India to give us a unique poetic experience. The poems will be set against the backgrounds of colonialism and orientalism as these frameworks cannot be dispensed with considering the time of composition of the poems. The paper will argue that Yeats saw the East as some kind of an antidote to materialism, rationalism, mechanization, and the onslaught on nature following the industrial revolution in the West in the nineteenth century and the West’s imperial mission, and sought a reconciliation between the masculine and the feminine, the East and the West which is seen in his literary oeuvre.





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