Yeats, Dates and Kipling: 1912, 1914, 1916

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Abstract

This article proposes that W. B. Yeats's ‘Easter 1916’, intertextually linked to ‘September 1913’ and ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, is also a subtle response to the political and sectarian quarrels of 1912–1914 as manifest in Rudyard Kipling's poems ‘Ulster (1912)’ and ‘The Covenant’. It examines the ways in which Kipling, and those in Ireland who reacted negatively to him, drew on the Easter sacrificial rhetoric later to be associated with the 1916 Rising, and illustrates how Yeats's poetry during and after the Rising may be read as implicitly engaged in a quarrel with Kipling's aesthetic. It reorientates perceptions of how and where the idea of sacrifice is deployed in Ireland (by Kipling and Yeats, but also by Tom Kettle and Padraic Pearse) and argues for the emergence of Yeats during the First World War as the figure who eclipses Kipling in terms of influence on, and significance to, the modernist generation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-322
JournalModernist Cultures
Volume13
Issue number3
Early online date01 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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