William Butler Yeats Short Fiction Analysis
With the exception of “John Sherman,” William Butler Yeats’s short stories mirror his attraction to the spirit world and reflect his fascination with good and evil. Since they were written during the fin de siècle period when literary and graphic artists, epitomized by the French symbolists, were expressing a world-weariness and pessimism that celebrated the triumph of evil, it is understandable that Yeats’s tales articulate that prevailing mood. These early fictional works also identify the themes which were to occupy Yeats’s poetic genius for the remainder of his life.
An integral part of the Irish literary movement, the tales have a dual purpose: to revitalize ancient Irish myths for modern Ireland and to serve as a model for artists attempting to write in Irish about Irish subjects. In the stories, Yeats celebrates the exploits of fairies and pagan Irish heroes which he discovered in the oral and written literary traditions; his tales thus become source material for other storytellers. Yeats’s The Celtic Twilight, a collection of folklore gathered from local storytellers, became important source material for Yeats’s later work. In recording the fantastic behavior of the various spirits and their relationships to the country people, Yeats stored information which he used later to dramatize his belief in communication between the material and the immaterial worlds. “Dhoya” is an excellent example of a revitalized myth, and...
(The entire section is 2128 words.)
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