Yeats Annual
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ELT 45 : 3 2002 Yeats Annual Warwick Gould, ed. Yeats and the Nineties: Yeats Annual No. 14: A Special Number. New York: Palgrave, 2001. xxiii + 399 pp. $75.00 ANNUAL 14, which contains six essays, three shorter notes, and eleven reviews, begins with Denis Donoghue's 1998 Charles Stewart Parnell Lecture at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Donoghue remembers colorful Republican and Unionist marches of his childhood north of the border. He mentions Thomas Davis's cry, around 1842, that Ireland must become "a nation once again," yet he doubts that it ever was a nation formerly, even before Henry II treated it as an English province in the later twelfth century. Donoghue traces the concepts of Irish race, nation , and state. Matthew Arnold good humouredly, George Moore ill humouredly , maintained that the Irish were a race but not a nation:"They lacked the power of composition and therefore the social and political capacity ." The main names in creating Irish nationalism, says Donoghue, are Parnell, Yeats, and Hyde. Yeats's "purpose as a cultural nationalist" was "to summon the Irish race into historical existence as a nation." In poems, plays, and essays he brought "to composition and form . . . national desires that hardly knew themselves to be desires." Yeats hoped for a state in which "the Irish people would resist the claims of democracy and climb to 'our proper dark,' the same darkness of subjectivity and transformation in which we found Swift and Parnell." Instead in this state the Irish wish to be like everyone else. Yet at least this state has no "nuclear or hydrogen bombs or germ weapons." Noteworthy is Donoghue's statement "I do not condone a single act of bloodshed, nor do I think that the social conditions in Northern Ireland, wounding to Catholics as they may have been, have ever justified the taking up of arms." R. A. Gilbert, a much respected scholar in the field, sheds "More Light on the Origins and Development of the Golden Dawn." Pamela Bickley writes an extended article on Rossetti and Yeats, pointing out Rossetti's deep but usually unnoticed influence. Warwick Gould introduces and presents Lionel Johnson's surprisingly rhetorical and blustery 11 March 1886 talk to the Belfast Young Ireland Society on "The Ideal of Thomas Davis." William F. Halloran explains Yeats's 1897 interest in William Sharp and his writing-persona the imaginary Fiona Macleod as a hope that those two would procreate, as himself with Maude Gonne, a Celtic Mystical Order in the Castle on the Rock, Lough Key. Deirdre Toomey reveals Yeats as a revolutionary nationalist in 1897, made 356 BOOK REVIEWS chairman of the "'98 Celebration Committee," devoting much time and great energy to that celebration, and, later in that year turning from action , writing the aisling "The Song of Wandering Aengus" in which Maude Gonne in "unearthly nationalism" becomes Ireland herself. Toomey quotes the poem entire, the only such extravagance in this 399 page book on the greatest poet writing in English in the twentieth century . Among the "Shorter Notes," Warwick Gould introduces and presents a 1901 lecture on "Clairvoyance" by Dorothy Hunter as V H. Soror Deo Date of the Golden Dawn, working with Yeats toward the establishment of a Celtic Mystical Order. Matthew Gibson, in 'Teats and Idealism: the Philosophy of Light," examines Yeats's thought on the subject in "Swedenborg , Mediums and Desolate Places" (1914) and in A Vision. A. Norman Jeffares's "Know Your Gogarty" has nothing to do with the Nineties. Its point is that Conrad A. Balliet's recent "great pother over what he calls Teats's unpublished late . . . 'Poem of Lancelot Switchback '" (in Yeats: An Annual, 1991) ignores Oliver St. John Gogarty's authorship of the key lines. I am glad to know that it was Gogarty, not Yeats, who originated this silly obscenity, which I passed over without publishing many years ago, as I am sure many others working on Yeats's manuscripts have done. Jeffares scolds Richard Finneran for not mentioning , in his piece "Crazy Jane on the King," Gogarty's remembered text of that Yeats poem. Given the same opportunity, I also passed over Gogarty as unreliable, although I love some of his own poems...