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Writing Modern Ireland$
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Catherine E Paul

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082693.001.0001

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date: 15 December 2017

Allegories of Writing: Figurations of Narcissus and Echo in W. B. Yeats’s Work

Allegories of Writing: Figurations of Narcissus and Echo in W. B. Yeats’s Work

Chapter:
(p.237) Allegories of Writing: Figurations of Narcissus and Echo in W. B. Yeats’s Work
Source:
Writing Modern Ireland
Author(s):

Hedwig Schwall

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780989082693.003.0018

This essay offers a psychoanalytic, and specifically Lacanian, reading of W. B. Yeats's thinking about the role of the poet. More specifically, it examines “the transforming power” of the poet, who, in Yeats's own words, “never speaks directly as to someone at the breakfast table, there is always a phantasmagoria.” It argues that this phantasmagoria is a drama within the psychic system, which the poet sometimes tries to stage in poetry and plays. The essay first discusses the concerns shared by Yeats and Jacques Lacan before turning to figurations of Echo and Narcissus in a range of Yeats's work. It shows that Yeats's ouevre shifted from narcissism and a strong love of Neo-Platonic theories to a more Surrealist logic that aims at sublimation and discrepancy.

Keywords:   poetry, W. B. Yeats, phantasmagoria, plays, Jacques Lacan, Echo, Narcissus, narcissism, sublimation

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