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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.32 pp.199-217

Yeats On the Way to A Transnational Poetics

Kim Youngmin


In A Vision, Yeats provides multiple trans-temporal (crossing different periods inhistory) and trans-national(crossing different nations) collage of “the glancecharacteristic of a civilization in its final phase,” and provides different images ofeyes for each period. Each of these images is related to a certain point betweenconcernful dealing with the world and the vision of the infinite world. Each imageof the gaze characteristic of sculpture represents a civilization, and constitutes a“discontinuous image” which connotes “the symbolic message.” In fact, Yeatsreveals each image of the eye as a fragment or stasis of a moment of the spiritualeye, and at the same time as the representation of Yeats's intention to quest for theUnity of Culture, the “vast design” of his transnational poetics.
The objective of this paper is to trace the trajectory of Yeats's poetics andrhetoric. My contention is that Yeats reveals his major shift from the poetics to therhetoric in the midst of the multi-level “twists and turns” which mark an importantmanifestation of the process of transmigration toward the Unity of Culture, and Iargue that Yeats’s quest for the Unity of Culture manifest a transnational poetics.Yeats’s poetic development manifests the on-going process of contestation andfragmentation on the bridge between the poetics and the rhetoric. The bridge is asite of turbulent aporia site in which duplication of contestation creates asimultaneous centripetal and centrifugal movement, comingled with multiplication offragmentation
Between “Magic” essay and A Vision, there is a missing link to establish theso-called “linguistic turn” in the career of Yeats the transnational poet/theorist. Yeatsin his Per Amica Silentia Lunae already conceived the doubling intertext ofintentionality as an anchoring center of the breakthrough out of the dilemma of the theory of magic. In fact, what Yeats has done in Per Amica Silentia is to createconflict, tension, and equilibrium between the theory of magic and the theory of thelinguistic turn, thereby rupturing the inauthentic theory of correspondence andestablishing the foreground of the authentic concept of correspondence in terms ofOthering. The Only Jealousy of Emer is the dramatic manifestion of Yeats’slinguistic turn in the speech of the characters in relation to the desire of the Other.My focus here in this play is rather the role of the multiple masks which representthe nature of the Other as well as the process of Othering. The Other has beenrepresented by the multiple characters’ masks such as those of Bricriu (The Figureof Cuchulain), Fand (Woman of the Sidhe), The Ghost of Cuchulain, Emer, EithneInguba.
As a unified vision of Yeats’s own diachronic and synchronic transnationalpoetics, A Vision can be seen in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s “desiringproduction.”Opposed to the (negative) Lacanian dialectic of lack and desire,Deleuze and Guattari propose a theory of “desiring-production,” which they defineas a “pure multiplicity, that is to say, an affirmation that is irreducible to any sortof unity.” If we re-consider A Vision as a desiring-machine that is connected toother desiring-machines, we deterritorialize the perspective which constructs lack asthe centre of subjectivity, thereby reterritorializing subjectivity as a network ofmultiplicities. The gaze of the writing subjects in A Vision become autonomous,creating automatic writing and automatic speech. Then, A Vision which is given forthe metaphors for poetry and poetry achieves its being in language. In short, Yeatshas established a transnational poetics which traces its poetics of the Other andOthering back to the poetics and the rhetoric of the linguistic turn, a turn in whichpoetry exists in language and turned toward an inner reality.


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