“Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”
Discuss ways in which Yeats presents the Romantic in ‘September 1913’.
Yeats presents the Romantic in ‘September 1913’ in such a way that it is no longer there, but also that there is a chance for the Romantic to be saved and brought back to Ireland. “Yeats saw literature and politics as intertwined,” Yeats used ‘September 1913’ as a political, as well as cultural, message to get across his views on the state of Ireland and its culture. ‘September 1931’ cane be said to be a response to mercenary employers who locker their workers out in the General Strike of 1913. It could also refer to the refusal of commercial interests to support Yeats’ appeal for money to build an art gallery to house the Lane Collection. Yeats makes explicit links between his political and cultural concerns. I believe that by ‘Romantic Ireland’ Yeats meant an Ireland that is not dominated by power and money. A critic wrote of Yeats that “For him ‘Romantic Ireland’ meant that large-minded attitude beyond the mere calculation of economic or political advantage that he saw in the present,” This attitude for Yeats was incarnated in his sometime Fenian mentor John O’Leary. John O’Leary (1830-1907) a dignified and well-read man represented Yeats’ vision of the ideal romantic nationalist. He was a Fenian who introduced Yeats to Irish writing in translation and also taught him that “there is no fine nationality without literature, and… the converse also, that there is no fine literature without nationality,” The first stanza of ‘September 1913’ focuses on the pursuit of money. “But fumble in a greasy till. And add the halfpence to the pence.” Yeats is talking about the employers in their relentless pursuit of money, and how they are petty for being interested in such a small amount of money. This creates an image of Ireland that is negative, where Ireland is dominated by power and greed. This use of imagery...
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