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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.63, No.4, 687 ~ 708, 2017
Poetics of Writing: The Spiritual Other in William Butler Yeats’s A Vision
Youngmin Kim
Yeats himself presents the details of the way to the Unity of Being in his critique of the Kantian transcendental subject in A Vision. The details were given by the “instructors” as the “metaphors for poetry” through the mediumship of Georgie Yeats. During the period of the automatic writing and speech with Georgie Hyde-Lees, his medium wife, Yeats was told by the Instructors “not to read philosophy until their exposition was complete” (A Vision 12), because they were worried he would lack “the patience and the curiosity to follow their application” of “their central idea,” and prefer a “hasty” one of his own (A Vision 11). The Instructors, nevertheless, encouraged Yeats “to read history in relation to their historical logic, and biography in relation to their twenty-eight typical incarnations, that he might give concrete expression to their abstract thought” (A Vision 12). After writing the first version of A Vision in 1925, Yeats made every effort to understand the enigmatic “abstract thought” of the spiritual Other and to give it “concrete expression,” as his letter to Olivia Shakespear reveals. However, philosophical knowledge dominates Yeats’s intellectual discipline until the rewriting the 1937 edition. The final analysis of the written product of A Vision demonstrates a poetics of writing which presents a verbal representation of the vision of the spiritual Other through narration and analysis so that the readers may further concretize it into perception and conception.
Key Words
William Butler Yeats, poetics of writing, A Vision, deconstruction, Other
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