The Visions of W. B. Yeats

William Butler Yeats published two editions of his book, “A Vision”, the first in 1925 and the second in 1937. They are interesting amalgamations of metaphysics, poetry and esoteric speculations. After years of neglect I return to mention these works briefly.

Previously I showed the fourfold of the Faculties (Creative Mind, Body of Fate, Mask, and Will), but ignored the complementary fourfold of the Principles (Spirit, Celestial Body, Passionate Body, and the Husk). Here I present an eightfold of both Faculties and Principles, and it makes a bit more sense with all its accompanying structure.

Each of these eight elements has certain dual properties which I have indicated by the second diagram: Primary (+) vs. Antithetical (/), Solar (Sun) vs. Lunar (Moon), Static (=) vs. Active (~). Primary is also called Objective, Antithetical is also called Subjective, Solar is also called Core, and Lunar is also called Changing.

In my diagram I have the Faculties as down-pointing triangles (+ and /) and the Principles as up-pointing triangles (Sun and Moon). Elements that are Active (~) are in the upper-left and lower-right squares and those that are Static (=) are in upper-right and lower-left. Since explanations of these elements usually involve interpenetrating cones and gyres and such, whether this diagram has any value is left for a later time.

I also just found out that Neil Mann, the author of the excellent and enduring web site about “A Vision”, has a new book out. It’s called “A Reader’s Guide to Yeats’s ‘A Vision'” and is published by Clemson University Press. It’s a bit pricey but I’m sure it’s full of valuable insights into these works. Perhaps I’ll just have to raid my piggy bank.

Further Reading:

http://www.yeatsvision.com/

http://www.yeatsvision.com/Yeats.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Vision

https://blogs.clemson.edu/press/2018/02/13/forthcoming-a-readers-guide-to-yeatss-a-vision/

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-readers-guide-to-yeatss-a-vision-9781942954620?cc=us&lang=en&

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2013/10/23/a-vision-by-w-b-yeats-faculties/

[*7.199, *7.200, *8.1, *11.56]

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5 Responses to “The Visions of W. B. Yeats”

  1. Gilbert Kirk Says:

    Wiki compares this work to Poe’s last work – Eureka: A Prose Poem.

  2. Martin K. Jones Says:

    I have not read Eureka, but it sounds fascinating. I see it’s available for free at Project Gutenberg.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/32037

  3. Gilbert Kirk Says:

    Thanks for the link. I’ve considered transcribing for PG in retirement. Eureka seems long at 153 pages but a quick scan shows that it could be worth a read.

  4. Neil Mann Says:

    To spare your piggy bank some pain, the publishers are offering 30% off the admittedly eye-watering price: http://yeatsvision.blogspot.com/2019/03/a-readers-guide-to-yeatss.html

  5. Martin K. Jones Says:

    Good to know! Thanks!

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