The Lateness of W. B. Yeats in A Vision (1937) and Last Poems
|Keywords:||葉慈;晚期特色;晚期風格;靈視;W. B. Yeats;Lateness;Late Style;A Vision||Issue Date:||2012||Abstract:||
所謂風格是指對藝術作品的形式表現做靜態和回顧式的描述，涉及創作者和特定時空的關聯。它是一種基於評論策略的需要或論述方便的建構，所以本質上是虛構的。本論文提出一種不同的晚期風格，稱為「晚期特色」：它是主體性遭遇危機的極端場合，表現在作品的形式鋪排上。在一段近尾聲的停頓時光裡，回想、沉思著主體本身的存在狀態，主體和這個物質世界的關係、和必須離開的那部分的「我」的關係、以及和被留下的那部分的「我」的關係。沉思狀態下的創作者在形式上而非題材上呈現╱再現這些晚期特色的時光，因為對創作者而言，晚期特色的出現意謂著創作者的主體性和他的藝術表現力之間的結盟遭受挑戰。此「晚期特色」是以柯默德(Frank Kermode)、阿多諾(Theodor Adorno)、以及薩依德(E. W. Said)的相關理論為基礎發展而來。
Style is a static, retrospective description of the formal properties of an artist’s works that involve the artist’s connections to a particular period of time. It is a critical construction out of strategic necessity or discursive convenience, so it is essentially a fiction in a Kermodian sense. This study proposes an alternative theory of late style—the concept of “lateness” as an extreme occasion of subjectivity in crisis expressed in the stylistic arrangements of the work. A period of caesura or coda is created, full of reflexive meditation on the existential state of “I” and its relationship with the material world, with the part of “I’ that must leave, and with the part of “I” that is left behind. The meditating artist (re)presents such extreme moments of lateness in the work stylistically, rather than thematically, because for the artist, lateness means that the alliance between his subjectivity and his craftsmanship is being challenged. The “lateness” takes its shape on the basis of the theories of Frank Kermode, Theodor Adorno, and Edward W. Said.
With the notion of lateness as an extreme occasion of the crisis of subjectivity in reflection, this study attempts to explore the lateness of W. B. Yeats in his prose work A Vision (1937) and some of his last poems. In the first chapter, Frank Kermode’s idea of the sense of an ending as a critical part of a fiction and E. W. Said’s compensating notion of the beginnings are introduced to demonstrate that any theorization has a significant structuralist format and scale, while under the inevitable systemization are the essential fiction and authorial intention, without which no humanistic survey is impossible. Gordon McMullan’s book on the idea of late writing, taking Shakespeare as an example, criticizes and deconstructs the trans-historical, trans-cultural, and trans-contextual idea of “late style.” Adorno’s and Said’s theories of late style are then introduced to define the idea of lateness as an extreme occasion that will be the theoretical basis of this study on Yeats’s lateness. In the second chapter, Yeats’s life and health in his old age are surveyed. His “private philosophy” in A Vision and its making are introduced, especially the system of the phases of the moon, by which Yeats categorizes personality and explains the cyclical progress of human life. The second part of the chapter shows how A Vision has been maltreated either as a guidebook to the symbolism of his poetry or as an embarrassing proof of his esoteric interests. It is not until recently that A Vision is appreciated as an independent work of art. Following this new trend, the Bakhtinian idea of dialogism is compared with Yeats’s preference of the antithetical over its opposite—the primary. In this A Vision is read as a fiction, or more precisely a meta-fiction with Modernist features. In Chapter Three, A Vision (1937) is analyzed in detail to show how lateness is stylisticaly expressed in the arrangements of multiple personalities of W. B. Yeats, multiple plots of the source of the esoteric wisdom, dialogical interaction between subjects, and the progress of plots between genres. The last chapter analyzes a couple of poems from Yeats’s Last Poems—the tentative collection of his last poems—and demonstrates how lateness is revealed in the formal choices of poems with particular thematic interests. The order of poems is also significant of lateness: Yeats is making a final address towards the ending of human life in general. His own dark, pessimistic feelings in the very last poems are hidden or lessen through the re-arranged order of poems. That is, the intellectual wisdom or understanding of how human life sails towards its ending is deliberately displayed in contrast to the actual sensual trajectory of Yeats in his last days.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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