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Yeats initial disenchantment with Irish nationalism can be successfully traced in his love poems to Maud Gonne - Discuss?

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Introduction

Q. Yeats initial disenchantment with Irish nationalism can be successfully traced in his love poems to Maud Gonne Discuss? In Dublin, WB Yeats met John O' Leary for the first time, a form Fenian who interested him in Nationalism and translations of Irish writing into English, and by doing so, gave Yeats' fresh and exciting subject matter for his poetry, and a new purpose. This was also the year he met Maud Gonne, tall and beautiful, a well- to- do revolutionary with whom he fell in love. Penniless, he could only offer her his poetic devotion. From the moment he met her, WB Yeats' life was profoundly affected by her famed beauty and unanswered devotion to Irish Nationalism. Born during an age when women were expected to be nothing more than window-dressing for their husbands, when women were expected to leave the rough and tumble world of politics to men, Maud Gonne rose above that prejudice. Maud Gonne did not return Yeats' passion. She accepted him with delight as a friend, but would not respond to any lovemaking. In many of Yeats' earlier poems we can see his enchantment with Maud Gonne. ...read more.

Middle

The love of Yeats' life, Gonne would keep his mystic, otherworldly figure grounded in the real world, a world that love and heart break would not allow him to escape. So Yeats entered the lists of Irish nationalist politics in the 1890s as a kind of courtly lover, anxious to prove his worth before a very nationalistic woman's eye. Since he found her unresponsive, after a period his emotions had cooled and then revived. He developed a concept of personal transformation through the agency of failure. He must try to change Ireland or to win his mistresses' favour, and fail, and in failure find apotheosis. Yeats may also have joined the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood, which traced its origins to the Fenian Brotherhood, the Fenian Brotherhood that had risen in futile rebellion in 1867, He certainly recognised that his literary work contributed generally to the cause of Irish separatism for which the secret, sworn Association stood. Maud Gonne saw Yeats "as a political weapon"iv to be used in the great battle, she was only interested in the element in his poetry which was dedicated to Ireland, and had she gotten her way he would have become a writer of versified nationalist propaganda, a sort of fin de siecle Thomas Davis. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poem "No Second Troy" tells us that after Maud Gonne's marriage and his struggles in the Abbey theatre - Yeats was bitter and distressed, however his verse took on a new strength, no longer the vague twilight suggestions of previous volumes. In the poem "September 1913" from Responsibilities, Yeats looked about him at the country he had served with such devotion and found nothing but dissolution, seeing with sudden bitter clarity the littleness, the greyness, the meanness, the self-glorification, the prudish savagery and false piety gathering in which he had been involved under the influence of Maud Gonne. The love he had for her and his powerful influence, she used to encourage people in her cause. He came to see how political opinions destroy a woman. To conclude, Yeats unrequited love for Maud Gonne had made him increasingly unhappy. During the 1890's he had become disenchanted with the Irish nationalists and with the revolutionaries. In 1903 Maud Gonne's marriage put an end to his hopes that one day she would marry him. The love poetry he continued to write still recorded his love for her, but it had become a love which no future. The old love had been replaced by realism, by knowledge of how she had never really understood him or his aims. ...read more.

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