Abstract Hatred: Yeats and the Counter-Revolutionary Paradigm

David Dwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines W.B. Yeats's affiliation to a counter-revolutionary tradition that had its origins in the works of Edmund Burke and incorporated a range of later writers from Alexis de Tocqueville to Hippolyte Taine. This tradition possesses significant internal differences and contradictions, but it derives its general structure and coherence from a shared distrust of particular kinds of theoretical abstraction. Placed against this background, Yeats's extravagant campaign against the abstract develops political substance and form. The article demonstrates how Yeats's general denunciation of abstraction in politics drives his attacks on both nationalism and democracy in Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-36
Number of pages19
JournalLiterature and History
Volume15 (1)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • History


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