W. B. Yeats, cultural nationalism, and disempowered women

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Abstract

Irish people have been preoccupied with decoding their national identity, while gender issues are comparatively obscured. It is well-known that nationalism is unfavorable to the development of female identity, yet political nationalism aside, the subordination of Irish women is entangled with the practice of cultural nationalism. This paper aims to discuss the formation and operation of Irish patriarchy by bringing Yeats’s poetry and plays into discussion. Section One is an overview of the role Irish women play amid the always already male-dominated Irish culture. Section Two presents a feminist re-reading of Yeats’s three lyrics, “Easter 1916,” “No Second Troy,” and “A Prayer for My Daughter.” This focus on Yeats’s poetry is followed by Section Three, in which the canonized mythical hero Cuchulain and the demonized female characters in Yeats’s plays like On Baile’s Strand, Caithleen ni Houlihan, as well as The Countess Cathleen are discussed. The final section recapitulates how Irish women are disempowered and disfigured in the works of this wellacclaimed cultural nationalist. Copyright © 2012 English Department, Tamkang University.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
JournalTamkang Review
Volume43
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Citation

Chang, T.-c. (2012). W. B. Yeats, cultural nationalism, and disempowered women. Tamkang Review, 43(1), 51-65.

Keywords

  • W. B. Yeats
  • Cultural nationalism
  • Irish women

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