Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
W.B. Yeats and the Muses$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joseph M. Hassett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582907

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582907.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 24 May 2022

Out of a Medium's Mouth: George Hyde‐Lees

Out of a Medium's Mouth: George Hyde‐Lees

Chapter:
(p.130) 5 Out of a Medium's Mouth: George Hyde‐Lees
Source:
W.B. Yeats and the Muses
Author(s):

Joseph M. Hassett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582907.003.0006

Seeking refuge in marriage to George Hyde‐Lees posed a potentially lethal threat to Yeats's poetic enterprise. Because the essence of the courtly love poem was its praise of an unattainable woman, marriage and sexual satisfaction threatened to cut off the source of inspiration. Yeats found his way out of the inspirational impasse, but this time it took what he described as ‘something very like a miraculous intervention.’ To relieve her husband's post‐marriage gloom, George feigned automatic writing, but then, she maintained, a superior force took over. The fascinated Yeats pressed her into five years of intensive communication with the unknown spirits. George's Pythia‐like exchanges with the spirits answered the question whether sexual success would still the voice of the Muse. Au contraire, they said, ‘What is important is that the desire of the medium and her desire for your desire be satisfied’ because ‘there cannot be intellectual desire…without sexual & emotional satisfaction’ and ‘without intellectual desire there is no force — or truth especially truth because truth is intensity.’ In other words, whereas sexual fulfillment was inconsistent with the courtly lover's access to inspiration, it was the sine qua non of revelation from George's instructors. Chapter 5 situates the automatic writing and its product, the extraordinary philosophical, historical and aesthetic essay, A Vision, in the context of Yeats's pursuit of the Muse, and examines the way in which the great poems of his maturity reflect the influence of George Yeats as oracle and Muse.

Keywords:   George Hyde‐Lees, Pythia, marriage, Yeats's maturity, great poems of Yeats's maturity, A vision

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .