“Drama as Personal as a Lyric”: The Centrality of Wilde’s Concepts of Dance, Desire and Image to Yeats’s Developing Aesthetic (1916–1921)

  • Noreen Doody


This chapter looks at Yeats’s developing philosophical positions—Unity of Being, Choice and Chance—and explores the progressive growth of Wilde’s philosophical ideas and images within his thought.

The cold and passionate dance is a concept for which Yeats is heavily indebted to Salomé and this chapter discusses the image of the dancer as a central image in Yeats’s iconography. The dancer is inextricably bound up with Yeats’s concept of unappeasable desire, and Wilde’s thinking is shown to be fundamental to Yeats’s developing theories in this area.

In the dance plays Yeats develops the image of dance within the context of many of the other symbols and elements that he found in Salomé, using one in conjunction with the other, so that together they form a substantial and distinctive creative unit or pattern within his imaginative work that carries on from play to play and yields a rich reading of Yeats’s aesthetic.



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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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