Introduction: “An Echo of Someone Else’s Music”

  • Noreen Doody


This chapter asserts that Oscar Wilde was a major precursor of W.B. Yeats. Wilde’s influence was substantial and pervasive and continued as a dynamic entity within Yeats’s creative imagination throughout his life.

Yeats first saw Wilde’s Salomé in performance in 1905, which was a pivotal year for Yeats’s influential involvement with Wilde’s work. Yeats was attracted by both Wilde’s ideas and his visual images, and the major areas of influence within the relationship are outlined in this chapter. Wilde’s treatment of symbol and thinking on mask and image are shown as fundamental to Yeats’s thought in arriving at his final philosophical position in A Vision, which underpins so much of his poetry and plays.

The subject of literary influence is discussed. A theory of literary influence that encompasses both Bloom’s agonistic theory and a more benign, irenic theory is suggested as a way of investigating the particular Wilde/Yeats scene of influence.



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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen Doody
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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