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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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Ancient Frames

Ancient Frames

Classical Philosophy in Yeats’s A Vision

(p.90) Ancient Frames
W. B. Yeats's A Vision

Charles I. Armstrong

Liverpool University Press

This essay inspects W. B. Yeats’s use of classical philosophy in A Vision, paying close attention to when and how Yeats turned to Pre-Socratic philosophers such as Plato, Empedocles, and Heraclitus in order to articulate the system that was handed to him via the automatic writing of his wife, George Yeats. Special attention is given to how the increased use of philosophy in the second edition of A Vision answers a variety of needs, including not only the providing of clarification and inspiration but also the legitimization of Yeats’s idiosyncratic system. Yeats’s use classical philosophy is also looked at in terms of what literary genres it brings into play, and how it relates to Victorian Hellenism and an Irish nationalist context.

Keywords:   A Vision, Hellenism, classical philosophy, automatic writing, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Plato, pre-Socratic philosophers, George Yeats, Irish nationalist, W B Yeats

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