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W. B. Yeats's A VisionExplications and Contexts$
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Neil Mann, Matthew Gibson, and Claire Nally

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780983533924

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780983533924.001.0001

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“Everywhere that antinomy of the One and the Many”

“Everywhere that antinomy of the One and the Many”

The Foundations of A Vision

(p.1) “Everywhere that antinomy of the One and the Many”
W. B. Yeats's A Vision

Neil Mann

Liverpool University Press

This essay examines the concepts that lie at the foundation of the Yeatses’ system in A Vision, many of which are unspoken or dealt with all too briefly. These partially hidden ideas inform much of Yeats’s later poetry and drama more than A Vision’s explicit details. The essay considers the system’s inherent idealism, based in spiritual community, the opposition of unity and multiplicity, and in particular the dualism that permeates almost every aspect of W. B. Yeats’s formulation. The fundamental antinomy of an individuating lunar or antithetical force and a unifying solar or primary force also embraces the reincarnation of the individual soul and its timeless archetype or Daimon, incarnate life centered on experience and existence between lives centered on absorbing and understanding this experience, and the greater cycles of history. The whole dynamic is summarized in the symbol of the twenty-eight phases of the moon, a vivid formulation that almost overwhelms the others. The interplay of the antinomy is central to Yeats’s later work.

Keywords:   antinomy, hidden ideas, idealism, dualism, A Vision, daimon, phases of the moon, reincarnation, W B Yeats

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