The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol. 58 (p.45-61)

A Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man: The Late Style and Politics of W. B. Yeats

나이 든 예술가의 초상—예이츠의 말년의 양식과 정치
키워드 :
Yeats,late style,politics,fascism,eugenics,예이츠,말년의 양식,정치,파시즘,우생학


우리말 요약
I. Spilling Out into the World, Smeared on the Word
II. Bloodshed Soaked in Esotericism, Apocalypse Saturated with Violence
III. Perpetually Challenged, Persistently Challenging
Works cited


아일랜드의 문화적 자긍심을 일깨우고 민족주의적 의식을 고취시키기 위한 고단한 집필의 여정과 정치적 활동에도 불구하고 예이츠를 ‘정치적’ 예술가로 예단할 수는 없다. 그러나 말년에 그가 보여준 전체주의적 권위에의 경도는 많은 연구자들로 하여금 예이츠의 말년의 정치성을 결코 간과할 수 없게 한다. 이 논문은 에드워드 사이드의 ‘말년의 양식’이라는 개념을 통해 말년까지 인상적으로 지속된 예이츠의 창조성의 비밀을 그의 정치적 견해 속에 반영된 해결되지 않는 모순과 비타협적 성격 속에서 찾는다.
Yeats’s dubious views on the ideal government, enmity against democracy, infatuation with aristocracy, and scandalous inclinations toward fascism and eugenics make his late politics open to ongoing discussion and continue to draw attention from a number of critics. In particular, his brief entanglement with the Blueshirt Movement and misbegotten attempt to write marching songs for it lead one to a pointed question: if his poetic enterprise was truly cultural, not political per se—a radical transfer of nationalist energies from the political to cultural spheres. Given such a question, this article aims at examining the “late” politics of Yeats through the lens of the discourse of aesthetic lateness articulated by Edward W. Said. Said suggests that musicians and writers can create a style that enables them to embody intransigence, difficulty, and unresolved contradiction—lateness as opposition and as going against the grain. If old age withholds any possibility of resolution, does it only bring about the perpetuation of a human predicament in continuing conflict or unexpectedly afford the recognition that art can ultimately escape the impairment of the body? Although it is admitted that late style of an artist may be taken to be the expression of not the arrival at any transcendence or ascending to sublimity but an open-ended longing, is it ultimately marked by the irreducible insistence of the transience of the human form including art itself? I will look into the points at which all those questions meet up with the grandiosity of the Yeatsian vision associated with the poet’s embarrassing proclivity toward fascism in his late life.