W. J. McCormack
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Yeats and gothic politics
in Dissolute characters
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The literary formulation of Parnell's last year is a construct in which romantic notions of the demonic figure if not prominently then at least powerfully. Parnell died in 1891 and the great concentration of W. B. Yeats's writing about Parnell dates from the 1930s. The young Yeats discounted eighteenth-century writing, and his rediscovery of its value for him broadly coincides with the final emergence of Parnell the persona from a silent chrysalis. In The Literary Fantastic, Neil Cornwell has adapted the approach of Tzvetan Todorov to redefine what gothic literature was and how it worked. Preferring terms like 'the pure fantastic' to ambiguous ones such as 'the gothic', Cornwell locates the fantastic on 'a frontier between two adjacent realms'. Yeats's gothic, as evidenced in his demonic transformation of Parnell, is implicated in his sense of international politics from the First World War onwards.

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Dissolute characters

Irish literary history through Balzac, Sheridan Le Farm, Yeats and Bowen


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