|Formatted Contents Note:
|| 1. That sweet insinuating feminine voice: hysterics, peasants, and the Celtic movement -- 2. Fair Erin as landlord: femininity and Anglo-Irish politics in The Countess Cathleen -- 3. When the mob becomes a people: nationalism and occult theatre -- 4. In the bedroom of the Big House: kindred, crisis, and Anglo-Irish nationality -- 5. Desiring women: feminine sexuality and Irish nationality in "A Woman Young and Old" -- 6. The rule of kindred: eugenics, Purgatory, and Yeats's race philosophy.
|| "Yeats, it has been claimed, invented a country and called it Ireland. His plays, poetry and prose record his life-long commitment to establishing new forms of individual and collective identity. Marjorie Howes's study is the first sustained attempt to examine Yeats's invention of Irishness through the most recent theoretical work on literature, gender and nationalism in post-colonial cultures. She explores the complex, often contradictory ways Yeats's politics are refracted through his writing. Yeats had a complicated relation to British imperialism and the English literary tradition, an intense but troubled commitment to Irish nationalism, and a fascination with the Anglo-Irish as a declining ruling class. As a Free State senator, he participated in Ireland's postcolonial project of nation-building; he also confronted his own isolation as a Protestant intellectual in a deeply Catholic country. The various Irish nations he invented, she claims, are intensely powerful imaginative responses to a period of violent historical change. By placing Yeats's politics and poetics at the centre of debates on nationalism and gender currently occupying critics in postcolonial studies, Howes reveals the contemporary cultural codes governing representations of class and gender embedded in the poet's concepts of nationality. Ironically, in Yeats's works, the unity of the Irish nation is embodied in the relationship between the Irish peasantry and the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, and excludes the Catholic middle classes. Every public proclamation on national destiny involves an intensely private scrutiny of gender and sexuality. This accessible and thorough study will appeal to all interested in Irish studies, postcolonial theory, and the relationship between nationalism and sexuality."--Jacket.