W. B. Yeats's 'A Vision'

BookW. B. Yeats's 'A Vision'

W. B. Yeats's 'A Vision'

Explications and Contexts

Clemson University Press


July 1st, 2012

Access Token


Other Formats



'W. B. Yeats's "A Vision": Explications and Contexts' is the first volume of essays devoted to 'A Vision' and the associated system developed by W. B. Yeats and his wife, George. 'A Vision' is all-encompassing in its stated aims and scope, and it invites a wide range of approaches—as demonstrated in the essays collected here, written by the foremost scholars in the field. The first six essays present explications of broader themes in 'A Vision' itself: the system's general principles; incarnate life and the Faculties; discarnate life and the Principles; how Yeats relates his own work to other philosophical approaches; and his consideration of the historical process. A further three essays include an examination of the elusive 'Thirteenth Cone', a consideration of astrological features in the automatic script, and a view of the poetry within 'A Vision'. The final five essays look at contextual themes, whether of collaboration and influence—between husband, wife, and spirits, or with another poet—or the gender perspective within these interrelations, the historical context of Golden-Dawn occultism or the broader political context of fascism in the 1920s and 1930s. Throughout, the different contributors take a variety of stances with regard to texts and the automatic script. This is an important contribution to Yeats scholarship in general and a landmark in studies of 'A Vision'.


Author Information

Neil Mann works as an editor, translator, and teacher, and as an independent scholar, specializing in the works of W. B. Yeats, particularly his esoteric interests and A Vision. He is one of the readers who is simultaneously frustrated and fascinated by A Vision and the system that W. B. Yeats and his wife, George, elaborated through years of occult experiment and personal research. In 2002, he created the website YeatsVision.com as a resource for those seeking to understand this work better, and this book is the result of some forty years of engagement with A Vision, Yeats's work as a whole, and the background of nineteenth-century spirituality. Matthew Gibson is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Macau. He is the author of 'Yeats, Coleridge and the Romantic Sage' (Macmillan, 2000) and 'Dracula and the Eastern Question: British and French Vampire Narratives of the Nineteenth Century Near East' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). He is presently completing a new monograph for the University of Wales Press, called 'Nineteenth Century European Gothic: Vampires, Doubles and the French Revolution'. Claire V. Nally is a Lecturer in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Northumbria. She has published on Yeats in the 'Irish Studies Review' and the 'Canadian Review of Irish Studies', as well as writing the monograph 'Envisioning Ireland: W. B. Yeats’s Occult Nationalism' (Peter Lang, 2009).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures and Diagrams7
“Everywhere that antinomy of the One and the Many”: The Foundations of A Vision22
The Is and the Ought, the Knower and the Known: An Analysis of the Four Faculties in Yeats’s System43
“The Spiritual Intellect’s Great Work”: A Discussion of the Principles and A Vision’s Account of Death76
Ancient Frames: Classical Philosophy in Yeats’s A Vision111
“Timeless and Spaceless”?124
W. B. Yeats’s A Vision: “Dove or Swan”157
The Thirteenth Cone180
Shifting Sands: Dancing the Horoscope in the Vision Papers215
“Metaphors for Poetry”: Concerning the Poems of A Vision and Certain Plays for Dancers238
A Vision of Ezra Pound273
Reflected Voices, Double Visions290
Yeats’s Vision and the Feminine312
Esotericism and Escape328
The Political Occult: Revisiting Fascism, Yeats and A Vision350