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Yeats and water imagery

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Yeats and water imagery

Latendresse, Saskia (1997) Yeats and water imagery. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Surprisingly little of Yeatsian scholarship deals with the cluster of images that forms one of the basic building blocks of the poet's philosophical system, water and its related imagery. This thesis intends to remedy this neglect. The centrality of water imagery stems from the fact that Yeats had identified both himself and the Irish people (his subject, as he was trying to build a national body of symbols) with water. Water--sea, lake, ice, well--and its related imagery--moon, water birds, fish and dolphins, blood and alcohol as related liquids--pervades the poetical and dramatical work of Yeats. Water imagery is one half of the system that provided Yeats with his subjects, a religion of opposites; the other half is absence of water or fire. Water and fire, wet and dry, the Moon and the Sun symbolize Yeatsian opposites that either unite (Unity of Being) or clash (opposite characters or ages). In the late works, when Yeats concentrates on the Great Wheel, water and fire are fixed as a key concept of the gyre, its poles. All the images that had been paired with or related to water or the absence of water in the earlier works (stone, garden, tree, bird, woman) converge as correspondences for the two poles, each feeding off the other (the clashing opposites are alternate aspects of the one reality that is the gyre). The imagery is crunched around the wet and dry poles of the Great Wheel, making water imagery and its eloquent absence essential to understanding Yeats's symbolism.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Latendresse, Saskia
Pagination:v, 97 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:English
Date:1997
Thesis Supervisor(s):Brian, Michael
ID Code:337
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:11
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:14
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