Irish Myth and Nationalism in Yeats' Cuchulain Plays

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literature, playwriting, Irish, myths, William Butler Yeats, nationalism


Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Playwriting | Theatre and Performance Studies


My interest in William Butler Yeats can be traced back to a class in Irish literature which I took in the Interim of 1971. We spent the first week of that class reading translations of early Irish sagas. During the remainder of the course, it became evident that those early stories had provided unique material for modern Irish and Anglo-Irish writers. Outstanding among the recent Anglo-Irish authors is William Butler Yeats. In the struggle for Irish independence (a conflict which, in a sense, has not yet ended), Yeats championed an entirely new brand of nationalism. Until Yeats' time, Irish literature had been merely glorified political propaganda. My. Yeats tried to teach the Irish that nationalism should be subservient to art. His efforts to create a national theatre for Ireland threw him into the public eye, and exposed him to all of the hatred and bitterness which an uncultured audience felt against cosmopolitan ideas.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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