Version classiqueVersion mobile

Yeats’s Legacies

 | 
Warwick Gould

Essays

Satan Smut & Co’: Yeats and the Suppression of Evil Literature in the Early Years of the Free State1

Warwick Gould

Texte intégral

FOOTNOTING IRRECONCILABLE REALITY

  • 1 Note—Further information may have been gathered since this article was prepared for publication. If (...)

1Julian Barnes the novelist and critic recently recalled a centenary exhibition at the Royal Academy in London entitled ‘1900: Art at the Crossroads’, which had displayed

  • 2 ‘Life turned into something else’ in The Guardian, 2 May 2015 (Review, 2–3) see also ‘Art Doesn’ t (...)

without preferential hanging or curatorial nudge, a cross section of what was being admired and bought as the previous century had turned, regardless of school, affiliation or subsequent critical judgment. … If such an exhibition had been organised in 1900, you could imagine visitors feeling baffled and affronted by the enormous aesthetic squabble in front of them. Here was the cacophonous, overlapping, irreconcilable actuality that would later be argued and flattened into art history, with virtue and vice attributed, victory and defeat calculated, false taste rebuked.2

  • 3 I think of James Shapiro’s 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2006), or his 1606: The (...)
  • 4 21 May 1933, to Derek Verschoyle, CL InteLex 5877; L, 809.

2Such cacophonies are very familiar from microbiographies.3 I wonder how a micro-biography of selected textual lives might benefit from the display of ‘cacophonous, overlapping, irreconcilable actuality’? The early years of the Irish Free State provide an admirable case-study of irreconcilabilities: its annals are more revealing than abstraction-driven, ‘flattening’ analysis. My focus is on the interactions between Yeats’s new writing, rewriting, and his ‘required writing’ —the phrase is Philip Larkin’s—as a Senator and public man. My texts include: ‘The Dedication of a Book of Stories from the Irish Novelists’ in its early (1890) and rewritten versions (1924–1925), ‘Leda and the Swan’ in its first (1924) version, and the essays, ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ (1926), ‘The Censorship and St Thomas Aquinas’ and ‘The Irish Censorship’ (both 1928), and I bear in mind Yeats’s comment to Derek Verschoyle, editor of the Spectator, in 1933 ‘my writings have to germinate out of each other’, an organic notion at odds with Barnes’s ‘irreconcilable reality’.4

3I take a couple of passages more or less unannotated in Yeats’s Collected Works, to give some sense of Yeats’s perspective upon the Free State’s bitter fissiparity.

  • 5 From ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’, The Dial, February 1926, collected in CW10 198–202.

Some weeks ago, a Dublin friend of mine got through the post a circular from the Christian Brothers, headed A Blasphemous Publication and describing how they found ‘the Christmas number of a London publication in the hands of a boy’ —in the hands of innocence. It contained ‘a horrible insult to God … a Christian Carol set to music and ridiculing in blasphemous language the Holy Family’. But the Editor of a Catholic Boys’ Paper rose to the situation; he collected petrol, roused the neighbourhood, called the schoolboys about him, probably their parents, wired for a film photographer that all might be displayed in Dublin, and having ‘bought up all unsold copies … burned them in the public thoroughfare. However, he first extracted the insult—the burning was to be as it were in effigy—that he might send it here and there with the appeal: “How long are the parents of Irish children to tolerate such devilish literature coming into the country?”’5

  • 6 From ‘The Irish Censorship’, The Spectator, 29 September 1928, collected in CW10 214–18.

Ecclesiastics, who shy at the modern world as horses in my youth shied at motor-cars, have founded a ‘Society of Angelic Welfare’. Young men stop trains, armed with automatics and take from the guard’s van bundles of English newspapers. Some of these ecclesiastics [Page 481] are of an incredible ignorance. A Christian Brother publicly burnt an English magazine because it contained the Cherry Tree Carol, the lovely celebration of Mary’s sanctity and her Child’s divinity, a glory of the mediaeval church as popular in Gaelic as in English, because, scandalized by its naïveté, he believed it the work of some irreligious modern poet; and this man is so confident in the support of an ignorance even greater than his own, that a year after his exposure in the Press, he permitted, or directed his society to base an appeal for public support, which filled the front page of a principal Dublin newspaper, upon the destruction of this ‘infamous’ poem.6

4When was this book-burning, and by whom was it conducted, and what was the burnt periodical containing ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’? When did vigilantes hold up trains? I concede the difficulty presented by the vast sea of print that is the era’s legacy, yet ‘untraced’ remains too much for some editors. Its absence tells readers that they should know the answer, especially when ‘untraced’ appears elsewhere in an edited text.

5‘The Cherry Tree Carol’ had appeared in the 1925 issue of Pears’ Annual which had been burned by the Christian Brothers in February 1925. Louis M. Cullen tells the story of the ‘bullying element of the relationship’ between the Christian Brothers’children’s monthly, Our Boys, and Easons who, though notionally the publisher, was the distributor of Our Boys. Its editor, Bro. Canice Craven, in deep financial distress brought on by a misjudged attempt to take the paper to a fortnightly format, wrote to Easons on 23 January 1926.

  • 7 l. m. Cullen, Eason & Son: A History (Dublin: Eason and Son, 1989), passim, but see 234–36, 268. He (...)

Enclosed you will find the two centre leaves of Pear’s [sic] Annual 1925. When I saw the paper I sent scouts to buy up all the unsold copies in Dublin. I also bought some other obscene things, paying £4.10 for them all. The lot were burned publicly in front of the Our Boys office, the blaze being photographed by the Evening Herald. Perhaps you would favour me with your opinion of verse 4 (marked) …7

6Had Yeats’s editors followed Cullen’s clue, however, this is what they would have found.

7This image is a brand plucked from the burning, thanks to eBay. Pears’ Annual (1925) was the last number of that celebrated children’s annual, and while it had merely a monochrome cover, its illuminated centre-fold is Kennedy North’s Christmas ‘mediaeval homage’ for Cecil Sharp’s version of ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’. It was set amid colour-illustrated children’s verse by a. a. Milne, Dickens’s Christmas stories with colour illustrations by Ernest Shepherd, illustrated verses in colour by Fougasse, and reproductions of nativities by Crivelli, Botticelli, Rembrandt, David, Luini, and Corregio. Other contributors included e. v. Lucas and Heath Robinson. It cost 1/-and was published in time for Christmas 1924/New Year 1925.

8Stanza 4, after Mary has told Joseph in the orchard that she is pregnant and asked him to gather her cherries, was used by Craven to foment sectarian outrage.

Then up speaks Joseph
With words so unkind;
Let them gather thee cherries
That brought thee with child.

Plate 13. Centre fold of Pears’ Annual, 1925, with in illuminated design for ‘The Cherry Tree’: English Carol by Cecil J. Sharp. Decorated by (Richard) Kennedy North. Image courtesy Private Collection, London.

9The questions raised by Yeats about Irish Vigilantism and this particular book-burning require, however, extensive initial scene-setting. Even before the ratification by the Dáil of the 6 December 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty on 7 January 1922 and even as Yeats braced himself to endorse it, he foresaw the enduring bitterness of a settlement that, though a step in the right direction, pleased almost no one.

  • 8 CL InteLex 4039, 22 December 1921, to Olivia Shakespear.

I am in deep gloom about Ireland for though I expect ratification of the treaty from a plebecite I see no hope of escape from bitterness, & the extreme party may carry the country. When men are very bitter, death & ruin draw them on as a rabit is supposed to be drawn on by the dancing of the fox. In the last week I have been planning to live in Dublin—George very urgent for this—but I feel now that all may be blood & misery. If that comes we may abandon Ballylee to the owls & the rats, & England too (where passion will rise & I shall find myself with no answer), & live in some far land. Should England & Ireland be divided beyond all hope of remedy, what else could one do for the childrens sake, or ones own work. I could not bring them to Ireland where they would inherit bitterness, nor leave them in an England where being Irish by tradition, & my family & fame they would be in an unnatural condition of mind & grow as so many Irish men who live here do, sour & argumentative.8

  • 9 See Roy Foster’s excellent pages on the events, 1922–28, Life 2 204–365.
  • 10 See CW5 422, n. 12.

10He moved to Dublin from Oxford. The June 1922 general election brought victory to the pro-Treaty parties. The Irish Civil War (28 June 1922–24 May 1923) had been foreseen by Yeats and many others from the moment of ratification because the oath of fealty to the Crown as Head of the British Empire split Cosgrave’s Sinn Fein from Republication purists.9 The ‘Provisional Government’ became the Free State in December 1922, and in that month Yeats was appointed for six years as one of the thirty founding members of Ireland’s first Seanad which met for the first time on 11 December 1922.10 Republican irreconcilables saw the ‘Staters’ —Maud Gonne’s preferred term for the likes of Yeats—as betrayers of the 1916 Easter Rising Proclamation. Bullets were fired into Senator Yeats’s house, 82 Merrion Square, on 24 December 1922, and a fragment hit George Yeats. During the Civil War, Senator Yeats had a police guard, but his social, literary, and political eminence made him a constant target for a sniping Press long after the gunmen had ceased to threaten his family. What he was later to call ‘civil rancour’ (VP 542) indeed prevailed, largely through that increasingly turbulent Press.

11In mid-November 1923, the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced, and the next month Yeats and his wife travelled to Stockholm for the actual award ceremony, as recorded in The Bounty of Sweden.11 Alfred Nobel’s 1895 Will rewards those who ‘have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind’, the literature prize being for ‘the most outstanding work in an ideal direction’.12 Yeats’s citation praised: ‘his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation’.13 The phrase carried with it such an obvious echo of the Young Ireland anthology, The Spirit of the Nation (1845) that all who read the press release were invited to believe, that, to the Swedish Academy at least, the works of Yeats embodied a united national ideal, and that the literary career of Yeats had been a principal force in the creation of the Irish Free State, the then closest realization of that ideal. He was gracious enough in his Nobel Prize Address to mention those who had worked for the cultural movement from the fall of Parnell in 1891 in a ‘disillusioned and embittered Ireland to the end of the Anglo-Irish war’, lamenting that Lady Gregory and John Synge were not beside him receiving the prize.14 In his short Acceptance Speech, he suggested that those in the Irish literary revival would see the award as ‘a fulfillment of that dream’.15

12There were those who did not rejoice in the award to Yeats, and Ireland. Very different pressure groups contested that ‘Spirit of the Nation’, and some sought exclusive ownership. Bitterness prevailed, and the Free State’s great moment, however anticipated by those who had sought it, or had feared it, was all too soon perceived not to be some final consummation of history. By 1925 Yeats was fighting a proud, unsuccessful rear-guard fight on behalf of the Anglo-Irish Protestant people—‘No petty people’ as he termed them—in respect of their former right under English law to divorce—a ‘vain battle’ with implications unresolved until 1996. Less well known is the conflict in which he found himself embroiled against those who sought to theocratize the new Free State in the Catholic interest and to sacralise as Catholic martyrdom the bloodshed of 1916. This time the ‘vain battle’ was freedom of expression, its casus belli being not merely that of obscenity This ‘vain battle’ was for freedom of expression, its casus belli not merely that of obscenity (including advertisement for contraception, illegal until 1980), but also that of blasphemy, as yet unresolved.

  • 16 The Obscene Publications Act 1857 … provided for the seizure and summary disposition of obscene and (...)
  • 17 CL2 378 and ff., 669–80 and passim.
  • 18 Newly recovered letter to Augustin Hamon, 21 Mar 1899, International Institute of Social History, A (...)

13English law in respect of what might have a ‘tendency … to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall’ still controlled what people in the new Free State could, or should, be allowed to read.16 By the 1920s this case law was highly nuanced, but in the Free State it seemed a new start should be made with stricter definitions and controls, including on that which might be deemed blasphemous. Such a charge had been vainly levelled at The Countess Cathleen on its Dublin production by the Irish Literary Theatre in 1899.17 Before the play was performed on 21 Mar 1899, Yeats wrote ‘there is likely to be a riot as the ultramontane organ [The Freeman’s Journal] has denounced us for heresy and blasphemy’.18 The rabblerousing potential of such charges remained.

VIGILANCE, OUR BOYS, AND THE CATHOLIC BULLETIN

  • 19 After ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’, a series of articles exposing child prostitution by w (...)
  • 20 Cullen 246–82. Cullen’s book is valuable in its mining of Eason & Sons but rarely looks beyond it. (...)

14The Irish Vigilance Movement, an off-shoot of the UK National Vigilance Association founded in 1885 to work for ‘the enforcement and improvement of the laws for the repression of criminal vice and public immorality’,19 became a popular clamour opposing foreign—especially English—newspapers and all literature judged by local groups as non-Irish, blasphemous, obscene—and influential. From at least 1911, a sporadic number of local Vigilance Committees, particularly in the West and South-West, chose to police what could be read. The best account is Cullen’s thirteenth chapter, ‘The Problem of Evil Literature’ and how it affected Easons.20

Plate 14. Front Cover, the Irish Independent, 11 October 1927. Image courtesy National Library of Ireland.

15Few would guess from the anonymity of this ‘front page’ story that its comprehensive retrospective summary of the issues of blasphemous and obscene literature was not a news story, but the paid-for advertisement to which Yeats was to refer in ‘The Irish Censorship’. Just who paid for it we will come to presently. To read it as it would have been read at the time is to sense its urgent summary. Near the top of column 1 under ‘Chapter I’, the ‘poison[ous] … corrupt[ing]’ of ‘public morals’ was effected through the trade in ‘impious newspapers’ purveyed by the ‘old firm’ of Satan Smut & Co., a trade denounced by His Holiness Pope Pius X, as indicated in ‘Chapter II’. Chapter III identifies the ‘cursed lust for gold’ of the ‘vendors of immoral publications’ and the ‘evil of pernicious literature’ which were ‘eating like a canker into the moral vitals of some of our youth’, even from the newspaper hoardings. This Pastoral Address by the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland echoes—I think consciously— Souls for Gold (1899), the denunciation by Frank Hugh O’Donnell of The Countess Cathleen with its soul-buying merchants ‘travelling for the Master of all merchants’ (VPl 37). In ‘Chapter IV’, ‘Lord Aberdeen and an Evil Trade’, it may be seen how in 1911 the Lord Lieutenant had sympathized with the Vigilance Movement after a book-burning. Limerick had felt itself ‘troubled by the importation of objectionable newspapers’ and local vigilantes had forced some twenty-two newsagents to sign a pledge renouncing the ‘evil trade’ in such papers.

  • 21 Our Boys, 4 September 1924, 18.
  • 22 Our Boys, without reference to its financial crisis, claimed the format change was at the request o (...)

16The importation of such newspapers, however, simply grew. By 1924, ‘30 tons of moral filth … [we] re weekly sent to this country’, according to Our Boys.21 (This Christian Brothers’children’s fortnightly cost 2d. As a monthly prior to September 1924 it had cost 3d).22 Time evidently weighed heavily after Sunday Mass and the Devil’s persistence was wily. Newsboys simply bypassed the vigilantes, met the trains and sold direct to the public. Cutting out the coerced middleman damaged the social fabric of small towns. Vigilantes had little traction in the bigger cities. There is next to no sign that the ‘clean literature’ campaign, made any difference to the sales of such papers as The News of the World (London), which was indeed the ‘certain Sunday newspaper’ warily referred to in ‘Chapter IV’s’ anecdote. From 1843, it had become the biggest selling English language newspaper in the world. Crime, sensation, vice, sex and drug scandals, celebrity-based scoops and populist news shifted newsprint. The News of the World was not, in the words of the Nation of Thomas Davis and others, ‘racy of the soil’: The News of the Screws or The Screws of the World was famously ‘soiled by the racy’. And thus it stayed, until Rupert Murdoch, engulfed by phone hacking, closed it in 2011.

  • 23 Cullen, 263.

17According to Cullen, the ‘first signal that Our Boys campaign for clean literature was having any effect was a ‘new force’ in Ballyhaunis when in December 1921 a newsagent cancelled subscriptions for a large number of comics and other foreign publications. By January 1922 Our Boys had launched a pledge to be forced locally by vigilantes on newsagents, not to sell ‘any publications calculated to lower the Catholic mind of the youth of the parish’, and the idea took off, especially in Tuam, with local Diocesan backing.23

  • 24 See Dáire Keogh, ‘Our Boys, de Valera’s Ireland and the European Crisis, 1932–39’, in Mary Shine Th (...)
  • 25 See Barry Coldrey, Faith and Fatherland: The Christian Brothers and the Development of Irish Nation (...)
  • 26 Ibid. Pearse apparently never forgot this lesson and referred to it in later conversations with oth (...)
  • 27 Despite its tone, ‘p. j. h’s’28 pp. hagiography of Craven recalls recalls his fraças with soldiers (...)

18Our Boys had been founded in Dublin in 1914 by the Christian Brothers as a wholesome Irish substitute for the English Boys’ Own Paper and other such papers for juvenile readers, and aiming ‘to interest, instruct and inspire the boys of our Catholic Schools, to create in them a taste for clean literature, to continue the character-forming lessons of their school days, to fire their enthusiasm for what is noble and good, to inflame their love of country, and to help in preserving them as devoted children of Our Holy Mother the Church’. A facsimile of an approving letter from Pope Pius X, ‘the Pope of the young’, dated ‘July 10th 1914’, followed. The paper’s editor was Bro. m. x. Weston who had inaugurated the paper as part of the clean literature campaign. Br. Canice Craven arrived in the chair in 1916, and remained there until his death in 1929.24 Padraic Pearse had been one of his pupils at the Christian Brothers School, Westland Row. Barry Coldrey describes an encounter between the young Pearse and Craven at the school, as Pearse read out an essay on ‘The Importance of Sea Power’. At ‘Our navy today sails the seven seas, supreme and unchallenged’ Craven had responded that ‘England used its naval power to plunder the rest of the world and Ireland as well’.25 Craven, from Tuam and a native speaker, was ‘a much more advanced and outspoken nationalist than most contemporary Christian Brothers, and his potential influence should not be underestimated’. He may have fostered Pearse’s love of Irish language, and Pearse stayed in touch with him.26 About 3 months after the Rising, Craven had been involved in a fracas with three drunken British officers, and no doubt the execution of his ‘most distinguished past student’ added to his bitter partisanship. The paper became increasingly militant but Craven would not have seen it as political, being an advanced nationalist who wholly conflated religious and political ideals.27

Plate 15. Cuchulain slays the dragon of ‘Tainted Literature: Front Cover of Our Boys Annual, 1915. Image courtesy Christian Brothers Province Centre, Dublin.

  • 28 Coldrey, Faith and Fatherland, 127. Turnover went from £798 in 1915–1916 to £7,386 in 1923 (Cullen, (...)
  • 29 Our Boys, 12:6, 26 Mar. 1925, [210]. For Conor Cruise O’Brien, Our Boys was ‘ultra-nationalist, ult (...)

19The circulation had rapidly grown to c. 40,000 copies per month, with a readership of perhaps 100,000 peaking at 53,000 in October 1922, with over 70,000 for special issues.28 The mottoes of the paper were ‘To God and Ireland True’ and ‘Purity in our hearts, Truth on our lips, Strength in our arms’.29 It relentlessly attacked the evils of dancing, drink, and cinema (Ireland having the largest number of cinema seats per capita at the time). By 1930, circulation had fallen to 20,000, half what it had been in the years following its launch.

  • 30 See also Linda King and Elaine Sisson (eds.), Ireland, Design and Visual Culture: Negotiating Moder (...)
  • 31 Cullen, 232–36. By March 1927, the paper was being distributed by the Educational Company, having, (...)
  • 32 The Our Boys archives (such as they are) have until recently been in the Christian Brothers General (...)
  • 33 Fintan O’Toole has a wonderful little essay on its retrograde effect on his own boyhood in the late (...)

20The front cover of Our Boys Annual (1915) might be a suitable emblem with which to start. Below the Celtic knotwork and bicycles and swimming, amid the unconvincing English Public-School sporting clutter for rowing, cricket, tennis, croquet, lacrosse, rugby, sailing and golf, you’ll see hurling sticks and a Gaelic football. In the central medallion, Cuchulain slays the dragon of ‘Tainted Literature’ the emblem of the paper’s chief crusade.30 There is evidence from Cullen’s history of Eason & Sons that during the period with which we are concerned, distribution had been rendered very difficult, especially during 1922, because of disruption of the railways.,31 so the zealous Craven bullied his distributors with threats of a pamphlet campaign against them, and drove even harder bargains as his paper began to fall in circulation in 1924–1927. He also bullied his readers with ever more hysterical schemes for Angelic Warfare upon impure literature. The Brothers themselves were then and later relentlessly pushed to sell Our Boys through their schools at least until 1960.32 It did not die until the late 1980s.33

  • 34 A Kerryman from Valentia Island, appointed to the post by the publisher m. h. Gill & Sons, O’Kelly (...)
  • 35 Ibid., vii: 605. The very first number opened with Rev. Patrick Forde’s ‘Catholic Literature’. Its (...)
  • 36 Ibid., vii, 607. By August 1917 the Catholic Bulletin had been given precise details of 160 sentenc (...)

21Our Boys was not alone in opposing this ‘filthy tide’. The Catholic Bulletin had been founded in 1911 by J. J. O’Kelly (1872–1957),34 and ‘aim[ed] … to promote wholesome literature for the family and to support vigilance committees in their opposition to undesirable publications’. It had a circulation of c. 10,000–11,000 by June 1914, ‘and was acclaimed by the bishops of Ireland’.35 It supported the Rising in 1916, during which O’Kelly very skilfully managed the censorship imposed by martial law from 1 June 1916 under the Defence of Realm Act, concentrating on the social and religious repercussions of that event.36 British censorship provided some sort of rocket fuel for ‘Irish Ireland’ i.e., ‘ourselves alone’ sentiment. Decontamination from British influence reinforced the Bulletin’s claim that everyone would be better off when free of England.

  • 37 See, e.g., ‘Notes from Rome’, Catholic Bulletin, 1 April 1917, 209–11.
  • 38 O’Kelly continued to oppose the Treaty. In June 1922, he was elected to the Third Dáil for the cons (...)

22The Bulletin remains an important historical record of British and Irish dealings at the time with the Pope.37 According to p. s. O’Hegarty, the Bulletin was a major influence in forming a sympathetic view of those who took part in the Rising. By 1917, O’Kelly saw his paper as the chronicler of the extraordinary events and their everyday implications for posterity—and with some justice. In providing an alternative to British propaganda and censorship, its authority, founded during the Rising, grew during the War of Independence (1919–1921) when it advanced the ideals of Dáil Éireann, despite the continued threat of censorship. O’Kelly went on to be Deputy Speaker of the first Dáil, President of the Gaelic League, Minister for Irish, Minister of Education in the illegal 2nd Dáil, but, after the truce in July 1921, he opposed peace terms and so lost his cabinet place.38 He relinquished his editorship in September 1922, and was followed from 1922 by Fr. Timothy Corcoran SJ (1872–1943).

  • 39 DIB, ii, 848–49.
  • 40 Ibid., i.e., ‘Inis Cealtra’, ‘Conor Malone’ ‘j. a. Moran’, ‘Art Ua Meacair’, ‘Momoniensis’, ‘Dermot (...)

23Born in Tipperary, and educated at Clongowes, Corcoran had no Irish, but had become Professor of Education at UCD (1909–1942) and was to prove ‘one of the most extreme nationalist spokesmen of the 1920s through his contributions to the … Bulletin’ from the early 1920s until its cessation in 1939.39 Under Corcoran’s editorship, the Bulletin was a vehicle for personal vendettas under his numerous pseudonyms partly to avoid being held accountable by the religious authorities.40 These included vendettas against academic opponents as well as the rival paper, George Russell’s weekly The Irish Statesman which, with its lofty internationalism, its opposition to literary censorship and compulsory Irish, and its support for free trade, saw the Anglo-Irish tradition as a distinctive and legitimate element of Irish civilisation.

  • 41 The Catholic Bulletin had pressed for heightened censorship in large urban areas where consumption (...)
  • 42 James Montgomery later wrote: ‘The charges against the cinema today are the same made against it 30 (...)
  • 43 Our Boys recounts the story of how two men (Smith & Wood) came representing commercial interests fr (...)
  • 44 See taois 10619a and taois/S 3026 Censorship of Films Act, Irish National Archives, Dublin.
  • 45 To the Editor of Nationality, 18 August [1901], CL InteLex; CL3 108–9. Although the term of office (...)
  • 46 The anecdote came to me from Roger Nyle Parisious who had it from Liam O’Laoghaire, later O’Leary, (...)

24Corcoran’s causes prospered. In early 1923 the Bulletin sought tighter Irish Film Censorship, and a Bill was passed later that year. The film ‘business’ he thought an ‘unwholesome and degrading traffic’ with control beyond ‘even the worthy efforts of Vigilance Committees and the Board of Film Censors’. ‘National censorship is entirely necessary: a partial control, as for instance in large urban areas, is by no means adequate’.41 The Censor (James Montgomery (from 1923–1940), and his deputy were to make the routine decisions (usually recording only a couple of words by way of justification: full records of the decisions and the reasons survive).42 In February 1924, a Censorship of Films Appeal Board was set up under the new Act, with eight Commissioners under the chairmanship of Prof Wm Magennis, TD. He and Montgomery were determined that Ireland would be different, and resist commercial pressures accepted from the Film Industry elsewhere in the world.43 The other commissioners were Rev. T. W. E. Drury MA, Rev. John Flanagan, Máire Ni Chinnéide, Sen. Dr Oliver St. John Gogarty, Sen. Wm. B. Yeats; Prof R. H. FTCD, Alton TD; Senator Mrs J. Wise Power; Dr Myles Keogh TD, and were appointed for five years.44 In 1901 Yeats had said that it was a responsibility of ‘men of ideas’ to prevent things falling into ‘rougher hands than ours’, but he lasted only until December 1924.45 Dublin folklore has it that at one session Yeats was asked his view of a torrid Hollywood star, reputedly Jean Harlow. He advised ‘Undoubtedly Aquarius rising’. I am told that the Astrology is accurate.46

A VAST, SHAPELESS, AND HIDEOUS HEAP OF THE MOST UTTERLY DEPRAVED AND BEASTLY FILTH

  • 47 ‘Many of these journals publish articles on what they call “moral problems”, articles that are far (...)

25Corcoran then turned with some self-satisfaction to repressing ‘the Sunday English Press … a repertory of sordid crime, and of every form of moral filth and unclean suggestiveness’.47 ‘[Vi]le and corrupting literature’ was exposed ‘for direct sale in book-shops and news-shops’. In, for instance, at the Irish Bookshop,

  • 48 On 26 June 1924 Yeats wrote to Ezra Pound ‘… the seizure of copies of “Ulysses” was not made… accor (...)
  • 49 The Catholic Bulletin, 13.3 (March 1923), 131–32. ‘Not naming’ and periphrasis were, as we shall se (...)

… in a prominent Dublin street,48 the central position in the display window has been occupied for some weeks in the winter just closing, by a large volume which can only be described as a vast, shapeless, and hideous heap of the most utterly depraved and beastly filth. The writer, who lays his scene in Dublin, and the book itself are not to be named here. Even in Paris it was not found easy to procure for the work a publisher: for Paris and her government are at last waking up to the evils of such publications. … The publication of this repulsive mass of brutal immorality was somehow achieved, and the book—banned in America and even in London—is displayed for sale in Ireland. The sale will not be great. The coterie of dabblers in such vile puddles is of an economic turn of mind: the usual method is to have one copy bought, and to have this one passed round the circle of those interested …49

26Corcoran suspected that those who would oppose banning such books had ‘sufficient personal influence to secure immunity from well-deserved prosecution and imprisonment. And the sale of such writings is a much viler and much more dangerous form of profiteering than other types of it that are feelingly written about in the press’. This attack on Ulysses snowballed, as ‘Chapter V’ of the Irish Independent, 11 October 1927 in Plate 14 above, shows.

  • 50 ‘Dr Yeats and Mr. Joyce’, The Irish Statesman, 30 August 1924, 790. Trench’s full letter is as foll (...)

27Professor Wilbraham Fitzjohn Trench now had Dowden’s chair of English at Trinity College. His attack on Ulysses for ‘raking hell and the sewers for dirt to throw at the fair face of life’ had appeared in The Irish Statesman on 30 August 1924. Joyce was irreclaimable, he argued: ‘the power of divine poesy to elevate the imagination’ was ‘annulled by the power of a bestial genius to drag it down; and this is in part the result of the championing of that genius by Dr. Yeats’.50

  • 51 Fr. r. s. Devane, s. j., on ‘Indecent Literature: Some Legal Remedies’ in the Irish Ecclesiastical (...)
  • 52 Thus Coleridge on the excesses of Sir Thomas Browne’s Vulgar Errors, i.e., Pseudodoxia Epidemica: s (...)

28In calling for the Free State to imitate developments in Canada and Australia and to instigate a ‘Black List of banned publications’, Fr R. S. Devane SJ urged ‘a deterrent to the Dublin Cloacal School’. The Black List should be instigated with ‘the notorious volume of a well-known degenerate Irishman’. Devane, who wrote with authority in matters of international comparative law, sought to blacklist ‘cheap low-class so-called physical culture and health magazines containing not infrequently very dubious illustrations, in addition to vile advertisements’, coded references to advertisements for birth control devices. ‘All books, magazines etc., advocating Race-Suicide shall be regarded as belonging to this category … and shall be automatically black-listed’, he advocated. For all his legal scholarship, Devane was just one of the co-ordinated daisy-chain of bitter Catholic zealots in the Irish Press, and urged wider public knowledge of what he called Trench’s ‘remarkabl[e] ecastigation of Senator Yeats’.51 The Catholic Bulletin and Our Boys were roused: Corcoran and Craven both loved such ‘big, stiff and hyperlatinistic’ language.52

YOU DIRTY BOY!53

  • 53 Pears purchased the copyright of Giovanni Focardi’s most famous statue named You dirty boy! and exh (...)
  • 54 See ‘“Stitching and Unstitching”’, op. cit., pp. 145–46.
  • 55 Yeats became so apprehensive about the threat of clerical malice from the Archdiocese of Tuam that (...)
  • 56 By 16 October, under the banner ‘The Yellow Press must Go’, the paper demanded that ‘Gutter literat (...)

29Bitterness, badgering and lovelessness reflect verbal violence in a contested society.54 Prompted by Archbishop Gilmartin‘s rallying of young vigilantes, the Jihadists of Angelic Warfare in Tuam turned up the volume from September 1924.55 The Freeman’s Journal also urged Church leadership over public opinion in respect of the sale, circulation, and exposure of objectionable pictures, newspapers, and other publications of an unsavoury character and tendency. Our Boys took up the call for new legislation.56

Plate 16. Brother Canice Craven at his Editor’s desk, shining the light of Angelic Warfare onto a waste-paper basket ready to receive ‘devilish literature coming into this country’, with his Editors’s Notes for readers below. From Our Boys, 4 September 1924. Image courtesy Christian Brothers Province Centre, Dublin.

  • 57 70 copies of Pears’ Annual would have cost £3.10.0 of this sum.

30The central panel on the ‘Satan, Smut & Co.’ cover of the Irish Independent boasts of a book-burning on 16 January 1925. This direct action by the Christian Brothers in the editorial office of Our Boys was allegedly prompted by a complaint from the West. The story refuses to tell you what was burned, just that 70 copies and a few other newspapers, total cost £4.10s anointed with a ‘gallon of paraffin, had blazed for an hour outside the paper’s offices in Richmond St.57

Plate 17. Detail, ‘Chapter V’ of the Irish Independent, 11 October 1927. Image courtesy the National Library of Ireland.

31This gleeful destruction also ignited, at grass roots level, the young Vigilantes in other pressure points, such as Limerick. A photographer from the Evening Herald was present (Bro. Craven later boasted), but if a photograph appeared in the paper of 17 January 1925, then the particular edition has not been preserved in the National Library and various microfilms of other archival copies elsewhere being of earlier or later editions of that day’s paper. Another coy announcement appeared in Monday’s Catholic Herald. Headed ‘A Blasphemous Sheet’ and subtitled ‘London Publication Burned in Dublin’ the full text ran:

  • 58 Catholic Herald, 19 January 1925, 4. On ‘not naming’, see above 142, n. 49.

A London publication which contained a Christmas carol set to music, and ridiculing in blasphemous language the Holy Family, was publicly burned in the streets of Dublin.
A copy of this production had been sent from the west of Ireland to the editor of ‘Our Boys’, a publication which is produced by the Christian Brothers. The editor immediately sent messages [sic] to the principal newsagents in the city, and had all the unsold copies of the London sheet bought up. Quite a large bundle of copies of the paper was burned.58

32Shorn even of its name, there was no publicity for Pears’ Annual, and otherwise, there was silence in the press, domestic and foreign.

  • 59 ‘The Angelic Warfare’, Our Boys, 11. 1, 5 February 1925, 524.
  • 60 Geoffrey Williams and Ronald Searle, Down with Skool! (London: Max Parrish, 1953); Richmal Crompton (...)

33Our Boys was all for moral improvement. Its readers were Catholic boys who, if they pledged themselves to Angelic Warfare, could further define Irish Exceptionalism by rising above the ‘gross animalism’ of the ‘dung-hill of literature’, imported contaminants for which the Irish people were paying £464,000 p.a. They were to avoid the ‘Plague Spots’ i.e., cinemas and jazz-dancing houses. Smoking, too, caused ‘Dead Brains’. Adherence to the triple pledge of the Society of Angelic Warfare would put some character into Irish youth.59 By 5 February, Bro. Craven could contain himself no longer. He just had to boast to his young audience, or burst with pride. Rather than use a photograph (if there ever was one) of the Brothers burning books, he commissioned ‘g. a.’ to recast the Pear’s Annual book-burning in some Christian Brothers’ madrassa, cheering larrikins imagined in the style of Ronald Searle in Geoffrey Williams’s Down with Skool!, the Thomas Henry depictions of Richmal Crompton’s Just William, or the followers of the Flash of Lightning in Clive James’s Unreliable Memoirs.60 Craven had claimed that the complaint about ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’ in Pears’Annual had come from ‘a schoolboy’, but this projection onto schoolkids of the Brothers’ manufactured outrage is an image of fomented moral panic, the unstated aim of the ‘Society for Angelic Warfare’.

Plate 18. The Pears’ Annual book-burning as imagined by ‘g. a.’, Our Boys, 5 February 1925, 499, and as preserved in the Evil Literature files. Image courtesy the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin.

34In the next issue, Craven boasts again, but his campaign is clearly stalling.

  • 61 Our Boys, 11. 12, 19 February 1925, [537].

Friday, January 16, was a Red-Letter Day in our boys’ Office.
A heap of Immoral Newspapers and 70 copies of a blasphemous periodical blazed for a full hour for a full hour in front of the office.
No doubt, many weeping devils hovered above us, bewailing the loss of their property, but their tears were not enough to quench the flames.
The whole pile cost us £4.10s. and a gallon of paraffin.
Now, wasn’t it worth it all? You’ll say ‘yes’.
We agree with you, and we are prepared to spend double that sum, and two gallons of paraffin, when we get the chance.
If we have succeeded in keeping 70 pairs of innocent eyes from seeing blasphemous language against the immaculate Mother of God, Holy St. Joseph, and the Babe of Bethlehem; if we have succeeded in keeping 70 innocent hearts pure; surely we are well repaid.
On reading this account the eyes of many will blaze to think that such literature should be allowed into this country.
But—and now attend—there are others who are not prepared to blush, even at devilish literature.
Would you wish to get an example?
A Catholic newsagent, living in Dublin, told the Editor of
our boys that, on one Sunday morning, 23 boys and girls, after coming out from Mass, entered his shop to buy a Sunday paper.
Out of the 23, 19 asked for an illustrated paper containing the principal scandals of the world, and four asked for the
Sunday Independent.
Fortunately the newsagent had not a single copy of the important immoral paper—nor never had.
19 Irish boys and girls who wave Irish flags and shout ‘God Save Ireland’, bought 19 papers full of moral filth—bought them on the ground where the battle of Clontarf was fought and won, where Turlough O’Brien, grandson of Brian Boru, was found drowned with his hands clutched in the hair of a Dane.
Truly, we have some mad specimens among us in this Island of Holy Memories.
61

  • 62 Our Boys, 20 April 1925, 708–9.

35For Craven, Devane had showed ‘the necessity of immediately strangling the traffic in obscene books and papers’. He wrote thus to Kevin O’Higgins, the Minister of Justice on 13 February 1925, reprinting his letter in Our Boys on 19 March (111). Urging O’Higgins to ‘welcome resolutions from all the Boys’ and Girls’ Schools of Ireland’ condemning immoral literature and urging legislation, this latter-day Savanarola promised O’Higgins ‘the whole country in a blaze … a bonfire blazing on every mountain-top in Ireland’. As he ‘pray[ed]’ that O’Higgins would be ‘divinely guided in [his] noble effort to save the Soul of Ireland’, Craven sought to whip up the ‘pure hearts of Ireland’s sons and daughters’against ‘the Demon of Immorality and his staff of filthy writers’. A fantasist in the style of Frank Hugh O’Donnell with his vast, shadowy, wholly imaginary organization, Fuath na Gall (see CL2, 707–12), Craven then promised that ‘Ireland’s Hurling Men … The Ancient Order of Hibernians … The Irish National Foresters … The Christian Brothers Past Pupils’ Association, The Pioneer Associations’ and others had ‘joined forces’ in the name of the ‘Angelic Warfare’ and the ‘safety of Pure Morals’. Moreover, ‘The Sodalities of the Sacred Heart will certainly strike staggering blows’ and ‘45 Protestant Boys’ and Girls’ Schools are also preparing their resolutions against Satan, Smut & Co.’, invoking what was to become his keynote phrase two and a half years later in the Irish Independent, with a suitably fiery portent.62

‘[F]UMBLING IN THE GREASY TILL’

  • 63 See, e.g., Our Boys, 3 February 1927, 297 in ‘keep[ing] back the filthy tide’ of foreign journals w (...)

36Yeats’s poems frequently interweave themselves in and out of the Press, finding uses for populist rhetoric from the very forces to which he was most opposed. We should not be surprised to see the ‘filthy tide’ familiar to readers of Our Boys ‘Angelic Warfare’ stories63 reversed in ‘The Statues’,

When Pearse summoned Cuchulain to his side
What stalked through the Post Office? What intellect,
What calculation, number, measurement, replied?
We Irish, born into that ancient sect
But thrown upon this filthy modern tide
And by its formless spawning fury wrecked,
Climb to our proper dark, that we may trace
The lineaments of a plummet-measured face. (
VP 611)

  • 64 See Our Boys, 4 September 1924, 18.
  • 65 Published as ‘Romance in Ireland’ in The Irish Times, 8 September 1913, 7.

37To find the Sinn Fein Club, Tuam, protecting ‘the youth of Tuam’ against ‘moral contamination’ by petitioning against newsagents who ‘themselves descendants of martyrs and patriots, and treading on ground watered by their blood’ nevertheless sold ‘publications insulting to modesty’ deepens the linguistic world of ‘The Rose Tree’.64 Yeats also found sources in influential texts—other poems perhaps—but even in reviews and in his own ‘required writing’. His phrases then re-entered the Press via news stories, reviews, and audience feedback. ‘Fumbling in the greasy till’ from ‘September, 1913’65 echoes a line in Thomas MacDonagh’s ‘The Man Upright’ in the Irish Review of 1911. MacDonagh looks askance at the subjugated Irish, who

  • 66 Thomas MacDonagh’s ‘The Man Upright’; printed in the Irish Review of June 1911: see The Poetical Wo (...)

Go crooked, doubled to half their size,
Both working and loafing, with their eyes
Stuck in the ground or in a board,—
For some of them tailor, and some of them hoard
Pence in the till in their little shops.
And some of their shoe-soles—they get the tops
Ready-made from England, and they die cobblers—
All bent up double, a village of hobblers
And slouchers and squatters …
66

  • 67 The speech was before a performance of The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet at the Court Theatre at 3.00 (...)

38This clearly spoke to the Yeats of The Wanderings of Oisin. Oisin’s giant perspective on his return to Ireland, shows an inevitable contempt for its now ‘small and a feeble populace, stooping with mattock and spade’; with ‘the sacred cairn and the rath’ left ‘guardless’ in favour of ‘bell-mounted churches’ (VP 58). MacDonagh’s pence rattled yet again in Yeats’s London lecture against Irish bigotries on 14 July 1913.67 By 9 August, the lecture’s half-suppressed thought had made its way into ‘Romance in Ireland’ a first draft of ‘September, 1913’. On that day, Yeats wrote again to Lady Gregory,

  • 68 CL InteLex 2235.

I wrote a poem which I will send you—a poem about modern Ireland in four verses. I think the poem good but wonder if the allusion to the ‘tallow’ in the first verse explains itself. I mean those holy candles—it is the result of a passage I had made up for my speech on the Gallery but had to tone down. The passage was ‘If the intellectual movement is defeated Ireland will become for our time a little huckstering nation groping in a greasy till for halfpence by the light of a holy candle’.68

  • 69 VP 289–90. Few MSS of ‘September, 1913’ survive, and none before a pretty fair copy of August 1913 (...)
  • 70 Quoted in Desmond Ryan, The 1916 Poets (Dublin: A. Figgis, 1963), 1.

39‘Groping for halfpence in a greasy till’ did indeed become ‘But fumble in a greasy till’. The draft of the poem that followed included the word ‘tallow’ to suggest that ‘fumbling by the light of a holy candle’ which he had censored from the lecture, the ‘holy’ also exhibiting some incidental Protestant recoil.69 Lady Gregory confirmed his caution, but the Catholic Bulletin chose to remain offended. With exquisitely bad timing, Corcoran had prepared for December 1923 an elaborate and nasty attack on Yeats, contrasting those lines with some poor verses by Padraic Pearse and daring his readers to disagree by sacralising the martyr of the Rising—a remarkable piece of emotional blackmail given Pearse’s own estimate of his poetry: (‘If we do nothing else’, Pearse had said just before the Rising, ‘we will rid Ireland of three bad poets’70). Corcoran’s attack began with the sources of Yeats’s income (always a sore point to the Jesuit).

Mr. William Butler Yeats, having recently added to his English Civil List pension for poetical writings a much larger annual sum from the pockets of Irish ratepayers, and given no special value in exchange for it, has now joined the New Ascendancy movement in criticism of a Gaelic Ireland. Hence many persons were astonished, and a good deal more than astonished, to find him lecturing, on literature in general and on himself in particular, on behalf of the Catholic Central Library Committee … the lecturer’s views were expounded in the school hall of a Catholic Convent in Dublin city, and when it was known, from the obvious satisfaction expressed threat by some of the tonier among the visiting audience, that a large number of Catholic nuns … came to that Convent Hall for the occasion, by motors and otherwise. ‘So instructive it must be for them’, said one superior lady visitor: ‘the poor things have so few opportunities of meeting and conversing with a cultured writer and a gentleman of distinction How they did show their appreciation of this singular opportunity!’ … the pensioner poet has … no use for Christianity, and that he prefers, both on aesthetic and on ethical grounds, if you please, the pagan past. He has often manifested his resentment that the spiritual conquest of Ireland by St. Patrick and his followers, was so complete and so enduring. Christianity is, to such as Mr. w. b. Yeats, an ideal of conduct and of thought, which is ‘lower than the heart’s desire’. He turns his back on the Ireland of our Catholic faith, and in what he calls his ‘pagan speech’, yearns for ‘a Druid land, a Druid tune’.

40While remembering ancient perceived insults to the Catholic faith in The Wanderings of Oisin (1889), The Land of Heart’s Desire, and ‘September, 1913’, Corcoran conveniently forgot that ‘Easter 1916’ had been published in the New Statesman on 23 October 1920. Moreover, no sooner had Corcoran drafted his piece than the Nobel Prize was announced. He hastily added a further sniping paragraph wondering why Yeats had

  • 71 Catholic Bulletin, 13:12, Dec. 1923, 817–19. Agreement had been reached in principle with T. Werner (...)

secured, by the due measure of enlightened paganism in his writings, the Nobel prize, founded by a non-Christian manufacturer of explosives? Who has written the newly announced work on Symbolism and the mystic scripts of Giraldus? We apologise to the high memory of Pearse and of Mallin, for bringing their noble thoughts into comparison with those of the new type of literary lecturer in the wrong place.71

WIDER STILL, AND WIDER

41Oliver Gogarty had moved congratulations to Yeats on the Nobel Prize in the Seanad on 28 November 1923. In January 1924, the attack on Yeats tediously opened out. The Catholic Bulletin snarled ‘Irish-speaking Ireland, with its Gaelic culture, which was invariably the aim of all workers in the Irish-Ireland movement’ was

  • 72 Catholic Bulletin, 14:1, January 1924, 6–7. The ‘heavier’ purse of course tilts at ‘The Grey Rock’s (...)

clearly an object of attack to the New Ascendancy, so strongly entrenched in the [Seanad], decorated by the presence of Senators Gogarty and Yeats. The latter potentate with his auxiliar lights, are to stand for Irish civilisation. Any patriotic inspiration in poetry is a mistake … Mr. Yeats wrote in 1913 ‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone: ‘tis with O’ Leary in the grave [sic]’. … Senator Gogarty draws attention to the fact … that there was … a tussle between the English colony in Ireland [i.e., on behalf of Yeats] and the English of England [i.e., on behalf of Hardy] for the substantial sum provided by a deceased anti-Christian manufacturer of dynamite. … the line of recipients of the Nobel Prize shows that a reputation for Paganism in thought and word is as very considerable advantage in the sordid annual race for money, engineered, as it always is, by clubs, coteries, salons and cliques. Paganism in prose or in poetry has, it seems its solid cash value; if a poet does not write tawdry verse to make his purse heavier he can be brought by his admirers to where money is, whether in the form of an English pension, or in extracts from the Irish taxpayer’s pocket, or in the Stockholm dole’.72

  • 73 This principle is a common-place of Classical Rhetoric: see Aristotle, Rhetoric 1404b. Thomas Wilso (...)
  • 74 The jeer comes in The Catholic Bulletin’s editorial against Yeats’s ‘no petty people’ Divorce speec (...)
  • 75 DIB 2:849.
  • 76 The Catholic Bulletin, 14:6, June 1925, 459–61.
  • 77 The Catholic Bulletin 15:1, January 1925, 1–5. The running battle with The Irish Statesman is the B (...)
  • 78 Ibid., 4, and 15:3 March 1925, 196 and ff., more on the ‘Sewage School’, esp. 198 re ‘Absquatulatio (...)
  • 79 From ‘A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire’ (1693.)

42Yeats had taken to his heart Roger Ascham’s formula: ‘Think like a wise man but express yourself as the common people’.73 Incapable of learning that more sustained invective is less, Corcoran could do neither. Republication of his relentless, monthly attacks would serve only to show what ‘Pensionary Senator Pollexfen Yeats’ chose to rise above.74 Captious, obsessively detailed, turgid, and laboriously premeditated, Corcoran’s editorials gain in risibility what they lose in sick-making potential when cut for illustrative purposes. The DIB sees Corcoran’s language as ‘the extreme development of catholic and nationalist positions in nineteenth century religious and political conflicts over land, education and nationality’, but in its heyday, The Catholic Bulletin reached a majority of homes in Ireland.75 The unsigned editorials came first in each issue and gave the appearance of being an ex cathedra pronouncement of the Church itself on the issues of the day. The ‘New Ascendancy’ against which Corcoran inveighed was a catch-cry which failed to ignite among those who could resist its conspiracy theory. But there is reason to assume they were a minority. Based on Dublin’s urban geography, with its epicentre as the Freemasons’ Hall in Molesworth Street the theory enfolded The National Library, the adjacent Kildare St Club, Trinity College, the Royal Irish Academy, and the National Library as Ascendancy institutions and so within the penumbra of Corcoran’s abuse. The I.A.O.S. headquarters, Plunkett House at 84 Merrion Square—Yeats’s own house was No. 82—was ‘the very powerhouse of the new Ascendancy’ while The Irish Statesman in Plunkett House was ‘the weekly organ of the New Ascendancy’.76 The ‘New Ascendancy’ writers were pilloried, month by month, as the ‘Cloacal Combine’ the ‘Sewage School’ (based on their support for Ulysses), the ‘Associated Aesthetes’, the ‘Mutual Boosters’ (all of these jibes can be found within just one page).77 Corcoran wrote as an autodidact, fuelled by alliteration’s adolescent artful aid, no doubt thinking he had triumphed in phrases such as the ‘filthy Swan Song of Senator w. b. Yeats’ and the ‘brutal blasphemies’ of Lennox Robinson, or the ‘absquatulation of the Advisory Aesthetes’ —‘absquatulation’ being a nineteenth-century American way of making ‘to abscond’ sound learned and comic at the same time.78 The prose of ‘ecastigation’ was, in Dryden’s phrase, ‘slovenly Butchering’, not that ‘fine[] … stroke that separates the Head from the Body, and leaves it standing in its place’.79

  • 80 English Catholics, Corcoran thought, were hardly Catholics at all (notably for their failure to est (...)

43Anything Yeats did was a red rag to the sectarian Bulletin. Corcoran pressured the new Government, which of course he did not recognise, to turn the Free State into a Theocracy. As such he rounded on ‘squalid ascendancy history’. To him, the Anglo-Irish Protestant tradition implied a continued claim to ascendancy. Only assimilation to Catholic and Gaelic Irishness was acceptable. Protestants should be excluded from public positions that might endanger the faith of Catholics. Protestant nationalists were wolves in sheep’s clothing, Catholic clerics of West British tendencies were enemies of faith and fatherland.80 When Corcoran died in 1943, his obituaries tactfully passed over his editorship of The Catholic Bulletin.

‘PRE-EMINENCE OF PUTRESCENCE’

44‘[I] n high spirits’ Yeats wrote to Olivia Shakespear on 21 June 1924, foreseeing ‘a most admirable row … a group of Dublin poets … were … to publish a review. I said to one of them

  • 81 CL InteLex 4570, 21.

why not found youself on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul … most bishops & all bad writers being obviously athiests’ I heard no more till last night when I recieved a kind of deputation. They have adopted my suggestion & been supressed by the priests for blasphemy. I got a bottle of Sparckling Mosselle, which I hope youthful ignorance mistook for Champaigne, & we swore alliance. They are to put the offending parts into Latin & see if the printer will stand that; & begin an agitation. I saw a proof sheet marked by the printer ‘with no mention must be made of the Blessed Virgin’ …. My dream is a wild paper of the young which will make enemies every where & suffer suppression, I hope a number of times, for the logical assertion with all fitting deductions of the immortality of the soul.81

  • 82 Irish Statesman 28 June1924, 507. The business manager (i.e., for subscriptions) was ‘Mr Cecil Salk (...)

45By 28 June, the ‘new monthly periodical’ was advertised for 1 July at 6d.82 Yeats’s involvement in its planning with Iseult and Francis Stuart, F. R. Higgins, and Cecil Salkeld seems an unnecessarily quixotic venture. After his Nobel Prize Yeats, courted by the reckless, threw caution to the winds. To-Morrow ‘amuse[d him] much more’ he said, than the Senate. Yeats reported, Lennox Robinson’s frontpage story ‘The Madonna of Slieve Dun’ was the ‘chief offence’ to the Dublin printer.

  • 83 If its references to the ‘Blessed Virgin’ were put into Latin, they evidently failed to fool the Du (...)
  • 84 ‘France & America & to a less degree England have a number of reviews, managed by young people, rea (...)

Now they are to print in England83 & I am advising generally. They will criticize the church not from the side of unbelief but from that of a more intense beleif. They have a manifesto classing all ‘bishops & bad writers’ among the Athiests because ‘the Holy Ghost is as an intellectual fountain’ & would show in their works did they believe, in their architecture & written style. If they have the courage to fight on I will write for them regularly—I have sent them a contribution as it is—& I think it may be the start of a great deal. It is about the only cause for which I am prepared to turn journalist.84

Plate 19. Front Page of To-Morrow, 1: August 1924. Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.

46To-Morrow finally appeared in August, the first of only two adolescent and chaotic issues. ‘The Madonna of Slieve Dun’ dealt with a western peasant girl, Mary Creedon/Creedan, of extreme piety who dreams of being another Virgin Mary (‘her meditations stirred perhaps by her own name of Mary’, says Yeats). The local priest had publicly despaired that even had Christ been born in the parish, the locals were well-nigh irredeemable. She swoons while in the company of a drunken tramp, is raped, but blacks out the memory of it, except that he had uttered the words ‘Jesus Christ!’ during the rape. Pregnant, she is quickly married in October to an innocent local lad named Joe Brady, the parallels between his name, hers, St Joseph, and the Virgin Mary being explicitly drawn. She knows she will give birth on Christmas Day, and the local drinking and fighting are mysteriously quietened. Local shepherds and animals foregather. She dies in child-birth and the child is a girl. The tramp boasts of his conquest in a shebeen in Cork: ‘Well, you’re the boy!’ say a couple of admirers.

  • 85 George Yeats had told Lady Gregory by 15 July that ‘the Talbot Press had already refused to print i (...)
  • 86 VP 441 vv. The Cat and the Moon had been published on 1 May 1924.
  • 87 Cf., NC 247 where Jeffares suggests AE. While The Irish Statesman is seemingly more of a ‘a politic (...)

47Robinson’s story had been written in New York in 1911, and had been published in an American magazine ‘which paid … handsomely and there was no word of reproach from his readers’.85 It was refused by the Talbot Press in Dublin. The editor of The Nation in London, ‘thought it might give offence and he returned it’, declaring it ‘One of the finest short stories I have ever read’. In offering it to To-Morrow, Robinson took a greater risk than Yeats did in reprinting ‘Leda and the Swan’ from The Cat and the Moon and the June issue of The Dial.86 Yeats claimed that he had sent the poem to To-Morrow at the ‘request from an editor’, i.e., Francis Stuart.87 It had taken its origins in the speculation that a counter-movement to modern individualism would come by way of ‘some movement from above preceded by some violent annunciation’, but that annunciation took on an entirely new purpose and meaning in the context of ‘The Madonna of Slieve Dun’. ‘[B]ird and lady took such possession of the scene that all politics went out of it’ (VP 828) Yeats wrote, but in To-Morrow, it was nothing if not political, and was read as another attack on the Church, this time from a pagan, mythological angle. Indeed, the Catholic Bulletin’s rhetoric insisted that everything about ‘Senator Yeats’ was indeed politics. A mythologically-based poem raising the possibility of a conjunction of ‘knowledge’ and ‘power’ arising from the violent annunciation depicted in ‘Leda and the Swan’ challenged the Bulletin, which preferred dogma to ‘knowledge’. ‘Power’ it was still seeking through bluster, in the new Free State. ‘Leda and the Swan’ and ‘The Madonna of Slieve Dun’ were a disastrous conjunction; two rapes, to be charged with the incendiary politics of bestiality and blasphemy respectively. Every last drop of political significance was squeezed out of To-morrow, down to the names and addresses of its printers Whiteley and Wright ‘(appropriate name)’, in Blackfriars Street ‘(a choicely ironical address)’, Manchester and of its publication (from 13 Fleet St., Dublin) in the Bulletin’s invective.

The new literary cesspool of the clique of aesthetes, prize-winners or laurelbearers at the recent [Tailteann] games, blazons under its titles: ‘Contributors include w. b. Yeats, Lennox Robinson’. The former contributes a ‘poem’, which exhibits Senator Pollexfen Yeats in open rivalry with the ‘bestial genius’ which Senator Yeats has recently championed. For bestial is the precise and fitting word for this outburst of ‘poetry’. The ‘swan-motive’ has been prominent in the aesthete’s [sic] circles for a year or more; it has now found characteristic utterance in the title and texture of the fourteen lines signed ‘w. b. Yeats’. To such foul fruition have come the swan-sequence of Coole, of the Liffey; the mutual prefaces, the mutual awards; the posed photographs on the river-side, including Mr. Lennox Robinson, Senator Yeats, and the Senator who made the Offering of Swans to the river, and received from Senator Pollexfen Yeats therefor [sic] a wreath of laurel spray. Professor w. f. Trench is answered. We may even say that J. Joyce will be envious when he reads the effort of Yeats, and will call for a more effective rake. Hell and the sewers are not in it. It is when resort is had to the pagan world for inspiration in the ‘poetry’ of the obscene, that the mere moderns can be outclassed in bestiality.

48To Senator Yeats therefore must be accorded the distinction of bringing the Swan Stunt to its quite appropriate climax. The Swan Song which he has uttered will not be forgotten to him.

  • 88 Catholic Bulletin, 14: November 1924, 930–31.

49The fourteen lines of Senator Yeats, however, are really a minor indecency among the contents of the new literary cesspool. Pride of Place in the unsavoury netherworld, is preserved for Mr. Lennox Robinson. His ‘Madonna of Slieve Dun’, a sustained and systematic outrage on all that is holiest in our religion, outclasses Senator Yeats in repulsiveness and villainy, even as Senator Yeats outclassed by his Swan Song outclassed the writer described so fitly by [Professor Wilbraham] Trench as one who ‘rakes hell and the sewers for dirt’. Fr the diffuse and amorphous heap of filth that issues from mere modern naturalism is never as foul as what can be raked up from the foul depths of paganism, and the foulness of pagan mythology is comparatively flaccid when artistic blasphemy strikes out into the open. The holiest act of the Catholic Religion was, as is well known, deliberately outraged by one of this coterie of aesthetes so as to lead up to that culminating atrocity. Two of the prizewinners at the literary games of August now act as sponsors for this new product of blasphemous ribaldry, couched in artistic phrasing over several areas of the new cesspool.88

Plate 20. ‘Leda and the Swan’, as printed in To-morrow, August 1924, 2. Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.

50The Bulletin here is wary of naming ‘Leda and the Swan’, just as the Catholic press in general took pains never to name Pears’ Annual. However, ‘J. Joyce’ at last achieves a name, and a name for ‘The Madonna of Slieve Dun’ was unavoidable, if the blasphemy charged were to be sustained.

51By 3 July, George Yeats had sensed that it was all going to end in tears.

  • 89 CL InteLex 4586, 5 July [1924].

Willie repeated the manifesto they or he composed, one sentence is ‘All Bishops are atheists’; and the Catholic Bishops’ pastorals are criticised. I was grave and said I was afraid his connection with it would injure the Abbey (already attacks on its influence are being made). I thought that an offensive sentence, he defended himself, says they are atheists.89

  • 90 Writing thus to Pound (CL InteLex 4586) was one of several attempts to spread this message.
  • 91 YMM 322. See UP2, 438, which mistakenly claims that it was Mrs Yeats, not Iseult Stuart, who told R (...)

52As the delay to the paper and the reason were being announced on 5 July, Yeats boasted to Ezra Pound of the perceived blasphemy against the Virgin Mary and yet its intent ‘to test all art & letters by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul’.90 Ellmann’s assertion that ‘[t] he style makes the authorship quite clear’, is particularly to be questioned.91

  • 92 Cf., Yeats’s lines from ‘Michael Robartes and the Dancer’:
    While Michael Angelo’s Sistine roof,
    His ‘
    (...)

WE are Catholics, but of the school of Pope Julius the Second and of the Medician Popes, who ordered Michaelangelo and Raphael to paint upon the walls of the Vatican, and upon the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the doctrine of the Platonic Academy of Florence, the reconciliation of Galilee and Parnassus. We proclaim Michaelangelo the most orthodox of men, because he set upon the tomb of the Medici ‘Dawn’ and ‘Night’, vast forms shadowing the strength of antideluvian Patriarchs and the lust of the goat, the whole handiwork of God, even the abounding horn.92

  • 93 The quotation is from Plate 77 of William Blake’s Jerusalem. See WWB3, or any modern edition, e.g., (...)
  • 94 To-Morrow, 1:1, August 1924, 4.

We proclaim that we can forgive the sinner, but abhor the atheist, and that we count among atheists bad writers and Bishops of all denominations. ‘The Holy Spirit is an intellectual fountain’, and did the Bishops believe[,] that Holy Spirit would show itself in decoration and architecture, in daily manners and written style.93 What devout man can read the Pastorals of our Hierarchy without horror at a style rancid, coarse and vague, like that of the daily papers? We condemn the art and literature of modern Europe. No man can create, as did Shakespeare, Homer, Sophocles, who does not believe, with all his blood and nerve, that man’s soul is immortal, for the evidence lies plain to all men that where that belief has declined, men have turned from creation to photography. We condemn, though not without sympathy, those who would escape from banal mechanism through technical investigation and experiment. We proclaim that these bring no escape, for new form comes from new subject matter, and new subject matter must flow from the human soul restored to all its courage, to all its audacity. We dismiss all demagogues and call back the soul to its ancient sovereignty, and declare that it can do whatever it please, being made, as antiquity affirmed, from the imperishable substance of the stars’.94

  • 95 On the embedded quotations from Yeats’s work, see above 165-66, nn. 91 and 92.

53This passage is best read as an act of homage to Yeats’s table talk, to his poems, to the yet-to-be published A Vision (1925), to the Blake he regularly quoted (‘The Holy Spirit is an intellectual fountain’), to his denunciation of atheist Bishops, and, in that final phrase about ‘the imperishable substance of the stars’ again to the Blake essays, to ‘Father Christian Rosencrux’, Rosa Alchemica, and The Unicorn from the Stars.95

Plate 21. Editorial (or Manifesto), To-Morrow 1: August 1924, 4. Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.

  • 96 Catholic Bulletin XVI, 3 March 1926, 248

54Context in such a journal is mutual reinforcement. In To-Morrow, everything pulled in the direction of rebellion. ‘M. Barrington’, the wife of Edmund Curtis, Professor of Modern History at Trinity and later to bolt with another To-Morrow contributor, Liam O’Flaherty, contributed ‘Colour’ about the disturbing sexual attraction felt by a white American girl in Paris for a black Senegalese man, against all her inherent prejudices. The paper’s spiritual antinomianism is also found in Francis Stuart’s ‘A Note on Jacob Boehme’ and ‘Maurice [i.e., Iseult] Gonne’s ‘The Kingdom Slow to Come’, both committed to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. ‘[T]the Sordid Swan Song of Senator Yeats … rivaled … Mr. Lennox Robinson on the Madonna, in that great effort towards pre-eminence of putrescence’ was the last judgement of The Catholic Bulletin.96

THE TO-MORROW FALLOUT

  • 97 According to Lady Gregory (Journals 1, 563).

55The disasters for Yeats’s cause occasioned by the fiasco of To-morrow continued to multiply. Yeats’s classical ‘rape’ poem and Lennox Robinson’s ‘rape plus Second Coming delusion’ story were felt to be doubly impious, Robinson’s being an infamous blasphemy and a heinous insult to the people of the West. The situation deteriorated. Robinson had protested ‘indignantly’ 97to the Irish Statesman

  • 98 Irish Statesman 12 July 1924, 555.

My friends who have started Tomorrow believe in the immortality of the soul … the purpose of this paper is the overthrow of the unbelievers … the question is the gravely serious one of the freedom to believe.98

56Lady Gregory, however, thought that the printers (and Lennox Robinson’s previous failed outlet, the Nation) had objected not to his beliefs but to ‘his way of supporting it’, and told George Yeats that

  • 99 Journals 1, 563. Cecil Salkeld, who was given to painting pictures based on Yeats’s poems (see belo (...)

it would be hardly necessary to display the immortality of the soul. She, though she didn’t support me when I told him so—is sorry Willie is writing for them, says everyone will recognise the manifesto as his though he doesn’t believe they will, and that he has given them his Leda poem and a fine thing among his other poems in [The Cat and the Moon 1924] but is, now it is known it goes into Tomorrow, being spoken of as something horribly indecent. However she says he was feeling dull in Dublin and it has given him a great deal of amusement’.99

  • 100 As Ellmann indicated (YA16 308), the story was particularly disliked by Dr John Henry Bernard (1867 (...)

57Yeats and Robinson were not to be forgiven, and the September issue of the paper was to be its last. Robinson had been Secretary and Treasurer of the Central Committee of the Carnegie Trust provided monies for libraries in Ireland. The Provost of Trinity, John Henry Bernard, as well as a priest, Fr. Thomas Finlay S. J., resigned from the Carnegie Library Advisory Committee over the To-Morrow affair.100 Yeats anticipated such moves as pressure on Robinson, warning him that

… the Provost will threaten his resignation & that you will be asked to resign to prevent it. Your desire would be to escape from so much annoyance by that easy act but when you consider public opinion in this country I think you will stay where you are. You have done nothing needing explanation or apolog’.

58Robinson had

  • 101 CL InteLex 4663, 23 October 1924.

but claimed the same freedom every important writer of Europe has claimed. Neither Flaubert nor Tolstoy, nor Dostoieffsky nor Balzac, nor Anatole France would have thought your theme or your treatment of it illegitimate. Ireland must not be allowed any special privilege of ignorance or cowardice. Even if your resignation helped the libraries for the moment it would injure them in the end perhaps irreparably because it would injure the position of literature. We must not surrender our freedom to any ecclesiastic … You can do what you like with this letter.101

59Archbishop T. P. Gilmartin, who personally organised platoons of vigilantes in his Tuam diocese then resigned from the Carnegie Trust, writing to various national newspapers that

  • 102 See The Connaught Tribune 19 December 1924., quoted in the Catholic Bulletin 15; 1, January 1925, 2 (...)
  • 103 See a. e.’s sombre ‘Notes and Comments’, ‘The old Sinn Fein movement … came to power because truly (...)
  • 104 Geoffrey Elborn, Francis Stuart: A Life (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1990), 67 is very inaccurate abo (...)
  • 105 See above 145, n. 55, and Irish Statesman, 11 June 1925, CW10 186 and ff.

60Catholics who remain connected in any way with the Committee ought to watch very carefully the class of books that are being circulated through its libraries.102 £45,000 of Carnegie funding was at risk. The To-Morrow affair echoed through every sphere of public life that involved either Yeats or Lennox Robinson. Far from putting him above the struggle, Yeats’s Nobel Prize made him the more vulnerable a target for all divisions in Irish opinion,103 from those who wished to sacralize the memory of 1916 and theocratize the institutions of the new Free State, to those who—as he did—sought to defend established British civil liberties (including divorce). As he saw, The Carnegie Foundation finally dismissed Lennox Robinson, who later recorded that he found ‘the whole thing inexpressibly painful. It alienated many of my Catholic friend and with some the breach will never be healed’.104 The fallout in the Catholic Bulletin became a relentless monthly hammering of ever more florid epithets, ringing ever-more vituperative changes on ‘Swan Sonneteer, Senator Pensioner Pollexfen Yeats’, the ‘fuglemen’ of the ‘New Ascendancy’, the ‘Cloacal Combine’ the ‘Associated Aesthetes’, the ‘Mutual Boosters’. ‘Their habit is to take an isolated sentence, & go on repeating it for years’ Yeats warned Werner Laurie, and his 1925 speech against divorce in the Senate, brought more predictable jeering.105 Russell’s The Irish Statesman began to feel significant financial pressure.

AN OLD SONG RESUNG

  • 106 Cf., VP 129–30.

61The ‘Dedication’ of Representative Irish Tales in Putnam’s Knickerbocker Nuggets Series (1891) had been merely a proem addressed to Irish-American ‘Exiles’ and other would-be tourists. Thirty-three years later in late 1924, Yeats chose to update it to the realities of divided Free State Ireland. He was correcting proof for Early Poems and Stories (1925), but the rewritten version had a first outing in the Irish Statesman on 8 November 1924. The last three stanzas of the early and later versions can be seen below, reconstructed from those two texts.106

AN OLD POEM RE-WRITTEN

DEDICATION

I tore it from green boughs winds tore and
tossed

I tore it from green boughs winds tossed and
hurled,

Until the sap of summer had grown weary!
I tore it from the
barren boughs of Eire,
That country where a man can be so crossed;

Green boughs of tossing always, weary, weary,
I tore it from the green boughs of old Eri,
The willow of the many-sorrowed world.

Can be so battered, badgered and destroyed,
That he
s a loveless man. Gay bells bring
laughter

Ah, Exiles, wandering over many lands,
My bell branch murmurs: the gay bells bring
laughter,

And shake a mouldering cobweb from the rafter,
And yet the saddest chimes are best enjoyed.
Gay bells or sad, they bring you memories

Leaping to shake a cobweb from the rafter;
The sad bells bow the forehead on the hand
A honied ringing! under the new skies

Of half-forgotten, innocent old places ;
We and our bitterness have left no traces
On Munster grass, or Connemara skies.

They bring you memories of old village faces,
Cabins gone now, old well-sides, old dear places,
And men who loved the cause that never dies.

Nov. 1924

March 1891

  • 107 The galleys were returned corrected to a. p. Watt & Son, who wrote to Macmillan & Co. on 28 October (...)
  • 108 TO SOME SPITEFUL PERSONS
    Your Envy pleases me and serves
    My fame by all your muttering talk,
    Just as t
    (...)

62Yeats had begun to revise the poem on slip 63 of the galleys of Early Poems and Stories well before the call came, probably between 23–28 October.107 The Irish Statesman version appeared with Gogarty’s ‘To Some Spiteful Persons’ as a comment on the facing recto, not so much as the following piece in a snaking column as if a footnote to Yeats’s poem, but as striking homage to WBY’s hawk-like stature above the ‘chattering dyke’ of brawling journalism.108

63Russell had dismayed Yeats in the distant past by wilful republication of texts Yeats had disavowed. Now, however, their mutual need was clear, if tempered by the fact that To-Morrow had survived for just two issues and that Yeats’s association with it was still notorious. Russell probably welcomed the impersonal phrasing of ‘That country where a man can be so crossed’ instead of a protest from Yeats at harassment so personal and so public. ‘An Old Poem Rewritten’ was prefaced with a designedly nonchalant headnote, forestalling readers familiar with the old text, who now urgently needed to know ‘what issue was at stake’ in poetic remaking, and in the remaking of Ireland.

Plate 22. ‘An Old Poem Re-written’ in its original placement, followed by Oliver St. John Gogarty’s ‘To Some Spiteful Persons’ in The Irish Statesman, 8 November 1924 (266–67). Image courtesy the National Library of Ireland.

This poem which I have just re-written, was first published in its original form in 1890 as a dedication to a book of selections from the Irish Novelists. Even in its re-written form it is a sheaf of wild oats.

  • 109 VP 351, 256.

64Cherished (Irish-American) dreams of an independent Ireland had to confront the blunt fact of sectarian and factional struggle in the Free State. Rewriting signalled what Yeats felt: new realities required a new benignity in politics which he could command only if others could do so as well. All is set at a slight remove, no longer with the sense of insult as in the ‘daily spite of this unmannerly town’ as Yeats had put it elsewhere. Words ‘obey[ed his] call’.109

65Here’s how he got there. Yeats had written to George Yeats on an undated Thursday in October (probably 30th).

  • 110 The line had formerly read—to Poems (1924)—‘The sad bells bow the forehead on the hands’, was chang (...)

I send that poem re-written. ‘Forhead on the breast’110 was impossible—it was an oversight of course. In amending that I amended much more. It is my thought & experience of 1890 written [with] the skill of today. Please put the old heading to it—‘Poem Rewritten’ etc—I forget it’. (CL InteLex 4664).

66On that same day, Lady Gregory prepared a new typescript of this ‘textual spur’. Her journal records:

  • 111 ‘He says he is sending his emended Cradle Song for its next number. I say it is time for a baby to (...)

I have typed out Bell Branch, much improved. He says he would not have ventured when he wrote it to put in such names as Munster and Connemara, had not power and skill enough to set them, I say what he has now is the power born of belief in his own power. ‘Quite true’. Yet he had used Sligo names then, had set a fashion, now rather overdone I think; for the young poets hitch a poor verse to a couple of hard names to give it a sort of solidity … Willie wants to stir it up again but I wish he would let To-Morrow take care for the things of itself.111

67We can follow the interim stages in the next three plates.

Plate 23. Galley Proofs of Early Poems and Stories (1925), corrected by Yeats. Image courtesy the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection (Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations), New York Public Library.

  • 112 Even as the first version had been published, he had sought reassurance from the loyal Katharine Ty (...)
  • 113 The galley proofs of slips 63–64 (later pp. 126–29 of the published book) survive in the Berg Colle (...)
  • 114 VP 393–94.

68The original sentimental tocsin had always seemed tendentious: ‘Ah, Exiles wandering over many seas | Spinning at all times Ireland’s good to-morrow’.112 Seeing his earliest prose and verse together in the galley proofs of Early Poems and Stories brought on such exultant changes113 as ‘Ah, Exiles wandering over lands and seas, | And planning, plotting always that some morrow | May set a stone upon ancestral Sorrow!’, redeploying the stone from ‘Easter, 1916’.114

Plate 24. Detail of Plate 23.

  • 115 VPl 671; j. m. Synge, Collected Works, 3, Plays Book 1, ed. by Ann Saddlemyer (Gerrards Cross: Coli (...)
  • 116 See Gould, ‘“Stitching and Unstitching”’, 129 et. seq., and pl. 1, 13. A larger version of the gall (...)

69Free State Ireland is that country where a man can be ‘so crossed | So battered, badgered and destroyed | That he’s a loveless man’. I take that Irish usage of ‘destroyed’ to mean exhausted, worn down: I think of ‘Destroyed we all are with the hunger and the drouth’, as in The Unicorn from the Stars, or, as Synge writes in The Playboy and Yeats quotes ‘destroyed with the cold’. A peasant says to Lady Gregory of cut hay threatened by the rains, ‘it’ s the night and the break of day that have us destroyed’.115 If the quarrel with others was bitter, that with himself was also intense. He suppressed more extreme expressions of bitterness which, within the textual continuum,116 provoke questions. On the corrected galley you will see that ‘the green boughs of old Eri’ were first revised to ‘the boughs of good and evil’ and at the bottom ‘A country where a man can be so crossed | He turns to hate as in no other land | From mere discouragement’. No, it doesn’t work, but it shows a certain empathy with his accusers, even if the ‘loveless’ of the version printed is more magnanimous. Even after he sent the now lost fair copy to George Yeats from Coole for transmission to George Russell at The Irish Statesman he sent more, guilty with worrying her ‘with all those revisions’. On 7 November, ‘Please make one more change in that poem: Stanza 5 should run thus

I tore it from green boughs winds tore & tossed
Until the sap of summer had grown weary!
I tore it from the barren boughs of Eire,
That country where a man can be so crossed’ etc.

Plate 25. Further detail of Plate 23.

  • 117 CL InteLex 4670 [7 November 1924] Russell, of course, given half the chance, would have set the 189 (...)
  • 118 While some lines stood in all future versions through other changes (VP 129–30). On 1 December 1924 (...)

70‘I think’ he wrote, ‘that removes the last sentimentality’. ‘If the copy has already gone to Russell send him this stanza. He can add it in proof’.117 The corrections are in the ‘sheaf of wild oats’ published the next day. The poet of ‘Meditations in Time of Civil War’ whose bridge at Ballylee has been blown up and whose Merrion Square house has been shot up in 1922, extirpate sentimentality in favour of magnanimity. The majority of textual changes made for the periodical were absorbed into the page proofs of Early Poems and Stories. They are not the last in that poem’s history.118

  • 119 See Gould, ‘“Stitching”’, 129–55.

71Such textual imbrication is not merely a ‘vertical’ matter whereby a new text drives out the old. A new, ‘horizontal’ field of textual reference, where the poet gestures to or summons circumstances contemporaneous with the writing and | or its re-publishing may well have supplied the poet’s need to rewrite at a particular point.119 Neighbouring texts, by others or by the poet, new collections, or new resonances available to the author as self-reader (say) of proofs offer new opportunities or pressures. The relation between the new and the rejected deepens our understanding not merely of the gropings and the assuredness of poetic revision, but also of the motivations and opportunities that new textual occasions provide. Yeats was not merely out-manoeuvring Russell’s stultifying love for his early work with a rewritten poem: its publication was a fresh salvo in a pamphlet war. Such contexts show the very real dangers of hastening into purely literary-historical observations about poetic influence.

  • 120 See George Bornstein, ‘What is the Text of a Poem by Yeats?’, in Bornstein and Ralph G. Williams (e (...)
  • 121 Yeats wrote to Lady Gregory on 3 January 1913 ‘… my digestion has got rather queer again—a result I (...)

72For George Bornstein, the revisions ‘mark an embittered cry at Irish realities during and after the “Troubles”’, before reminding us that ‘the revised version appeared in the middle of perhaps the most glorious decade of literary modernism in English, one that saw the publication of The Waste Land, Ulysses, and The Tower’. The Irish realities are precise: Yeats is turning a dedicatory poem for American readers of 1891 into a poem of 1924 for Irish readers of an Irish periodical, a domestic audience au courant with a pamphlet war: the Irish Statesman and the Irish Times ranged against the Catholic Bulletin, Our Boys, Irish Ecclesiastical Record, and Irish Independent. It is not some vague gesture to 1916, nor the Irish War of Independence, nor the Civil War—and certainly not to ‘the Troubles’! This poem is not ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, nor ‘Meditations in Time of Civil War’. But accuracy evidently means little to Bornstein who wishes to insist that the ‘glorious decade of literary modernism is due to the influence of Ezra Pound’.120 Pound indeed helped Yeats to abolish ‘Miltonic inversion’ in ‘The Two Kings’ in 1912–1913, a wonderful poem often air-brushed from history.121 But Pound’s influence, so often over-stated, dates from after Yeats, came ‘into [his] strength’ such that ‘words obey[ed his] call’ (VP 256) in the years that gave issue to The Green Helmet and Other Poems.

  • 122 ‘Life turned into something else’ in The Guardian, 2 May 2015, Review, 2–3. When Barnes collected t (...)
  • 123 ‘The imposed view, however innocent, always obscures’, Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and (...)
  • 124 See Lawrence Lipking, ‘Comparative Reading’, The New Republic, 2 October 1989, 28–35.

73It is here that Julian Barnes’s ‘cacophonous, overlapping, irreconcilable actuality’ prevails for me over the ‘flatten[ing] [literary] history, with virtue and vice attributed, victory and defeat calculated, false taste rebuked’.122 When the actual is recovered, ‘isms’ can be seen to have flattened the life out of any poem. Summoning the First Armoured Division of Modernism seems unnecessary in the face of the quotidian realities of Irish public life. ‘Modernist discourse’ often actually hurries actual Irish events out of the way to get back to its bloated theme. As Barry Lopez remarks, ‘The imposed view, however innocent, always obscures’.123 It forces young researchers into what Lawrence Lipking once called ‘competitive reading’ whereby refuting others’opinions diverts fresh postgraduate energy and enquiry from the print archive itself.124

  • 125 Such is the perspective available to those who read ‘vertically’, alive to these occluded, or acroa (...)
  • 126 Mem 152. See also Warwick Gould, ‘The Mask before The Mask’ (YA19 3–47).

74That rich archive records the ‘Janus-faced’ texts found in periodicals, those which look ‘before and after’ as new subsumes old into a new structure on old foundations, binding new to old, distancing it yet preserving its integrity. Their whole text is a ‘moving image’ of its author’s developing thought, its forms, and pressures.125 Textual repudiation shows the mature poet rewriting himself as a character in his own phantasmagoria, ‘play[ing] with all masks’.126

75Bro. Craven’s gallon of paraffin and 70 copies of a London Christmas number were, of course, a far cry from the thirty-four simultaneous book-burnings in university towns on 10 May 1933, organized by German students. But these events have in common an appeal to national Essentialism. In the Opernplatz in Berlin in 1933, you will remember, Dr Goebbels congratulated the students and Hitler Youth:

The triumph of the German revolution has cleared a path for the German way; and the future German man will not just be a man of books, but also a man of character … you do well at this late hour to entrust to the flames the intellectual garbage of the past. It is a strong, great and symbolic undertaking [from which] … will arise victorious the lord of a new spirit.127

76Titillatingly, the identities of both the Christmas carol and the incinerated Christmas publication were not divulged to the ordinary public. ‘Blasphemous … diabolical insult to the Immaculate Mother of God … horrible insult to God’ was enough to rouse the readership.128 The whole episode has about it a repugnantly withheld knowingness. While there was commercial advantage in destroying an up-market English rival and boasting about it: to have named it would have conferred irresistible notoriety upon it. A & F. Pears Ltd is often cited as using its soap to signify imperial progress,129 but this too is a very retrospective view, and it is probably wrong to see the opposition of Our Boys to Pears’Annual (which had been the market leader in children’s Christmas publications since 1891) as simply political. Our Boys had in life and still has in Irish press histories a reputation for being notoriously hard-nosed about market share.

  • 130 See above 125, n. 5 and CW10 198. I remain grateful to Christian Bros. archivists in Rome and Dubli (...)

77What Bro. Craven had in fact done was, as Yeats had observed, to remove the centre-fold from every rounded-up copy of Pears’Annual before they were burned—’as it were in effigy’ said Yeats—before circulating them to selected key fomenters of moral outrage with one of Bro Craven’s circulars—alas, still fugitive—as evidence of the wily ways of the Devil.130 Yeats is the only contemporary witness to tell us that the offending pages held ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’, and the only witness to tell us that they were circulated in this wily, vicious way, even if the Eason archive reveals Bro. Craven’s viciousness on a more personal level. That Yeats does not name Pears’ Annual is unremarkable: no doubt Craven’s circular, in accordance with his rhetorical strategy of ‘not namng’, simply identified it, as Yeats says, as ‘the Christmas number of a London publication in the hands of a boy’, and his focus was on the incendiarism itself.

78There are many versions of ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’. The offending stanza in the Pears Annual version does not appear in the Cuala Press Broadside version of December 1909, illustrated by Jack B. Yeats. Though a limited-edition hand-coloured Broadside is unlikely to have reached the audiences the Christian Brothers courted, I doubt there was self-censoring at Cuala. The layout of the poem hampers its reading. To preserve any narrative coherence in the Broadside one must read across the page, and not in snaking columns: something may be missing before the verses about the miracle of the tree.

  • 131 In The Bookman, October 1895 Yeats had recommended that The Religious Songs of Connaught ‘be added (...)

79Yeats also knew of Irish versions in both languages, including that collated from two Mayo witnesses (Michael MacRury and another from Martin O’Callaly in Erris) by Douglas Hyde for The Religious Songs of Connacht (1906).131

I will not pluck thee one cherry
Who art unfaithful to me
Let him come to fetch you the cherries
Who is dearer than I to thee

Plates 26a−b. ‘The Cherry-Tree Carol’, Cuala Press Broadside version (No. 7, December 1909), illustrated by Jack B. Yeats, the final three stanzas of which are on the following page (detail). Images courtesy Digital Library@Villanova University.

Plate 27. Douglas Hyde’s parallel text Irish and English versions taken down in Mayo. From Religious Songs of Connacht (1906, 280-81). Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.

80The literal translation offered in the running footnote, is even franker:

Then spake St. Joseph with utterance that was stout, ‘I shall not pluck thee the jewels, and I like not thy child. Call upon his father, it is he you may be stiff with’. Then stirred Jesus blessedly beneath her bosom. Then spake Jesus holily ‘Bend low in her presence, O tree’. The tree bowed down to her in their presence, without delay, and she got the desire of her inner heart, quite directly off the tree. Then spake St. Joseph, and cast himself upon the ground, ‘Go home, Mary, and lie upon thy couch until I go to Jerusalem, doing penance for my sin’. Then spake the Virgin with utterance that was blessed, ‘I shall not go home, and I shall not lie upon my couch, but you have forgiveness to find from the King of the graces for your sins’. (280–81).

  • 132 In ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’, CW10 199.
  • 133 Yeats’s scorn for Craven’s ignorance suggests some scholarship of his own on the group of poems tha (...)

81If Our Boys and The Catholic Bulletin found so much to object to in Joyce’s Ulysses, why had they never turned on Religious Songs of Connacht? Yeats’s answer is Bro. Craven’s ‘incredible ignorance’ of ‘the lovely celebration of Mary’s sanctity and her Child’s divinity, a glory of the mediaeval church as popular in Gaelic as in English’. For Yeats, the Carol celebrates a ‘miracle’.132 Joseph’s doubt is recorded in Matthew 1, 18–25 but the rest of the story is in the Apocrypha. The ‘Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew’, a Latin compilation of the eight or ninth century, contains much from the second century Protevangelium, or Infancy Gospel of James. (Hyde’s Mayo versions have verbal echoes of these apocryphal Infancy stories.) Then there is a Middle-English ur-carol, the fifteenth-century Coventry Mysteries, and scores of quaint folkloric versions—with which Yeats had some familiarity, but then he also knew a. h. Bullen’s version, and had collated Cecil Sharp’s version with Quiller-Couch’s version found in his The Oxford Book of Ballads.133 The main point, however, is that the carol was sung in Christmas services, Catholic and Protestant, year after year, as Cn be followed in the records of Christmas Carol services in local and national newspapers.

  • 134 See Rev R. S. Devane SJ, ‘Indecent Literature: Some Legal Remedies’ (loc. cit., above 144, n. 51). (...)
  • 135 See Louis Cullen (op. cit.), 262. The membership of the Committee included Prof. William Thrift (tc (...)

82The Knights of Angelic Warfare, however, were simply unembarrassable. Their campaign grew. The text of Richard Devane’s survey of Commonwealth and American laws to curb ‘Evil Literature’ in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, was as authoritative as its footnotes were authoritarian. Irish Exceptionalism, he thought, should unite all shades of opinion in a new state to iron all nuance out of English case law.134 That way he allowed other organs of Catholic opinion to do his work for him. Reluctantly, Kevin O’Higgins as Minister of Justice and a former Christian Brothers schoolboy, set up a Committee on Evil Literature on 12 February1926, ‘in retrospect, a most embarrassing institution that contravened common sense’.135

  • 136 To judge by its absence from comprehensive ‘Evil Literature’ records of the Irish State Archives.
  • 137 Ibid., The Committee reported on 28 December 1926. It recommended ‘a new definition of the terms [i (...)
  • 138 The perpetrators were known, but never stood trial.

83I’m not going to summarize the evidence submitted to this star chamber, beyond saying that this was an issue which mattered hugely to a vociferous minority who claimed to represent the Catholic majority view. Other religious and social groups—the Church of Ireland, the Boy Scouts etc—submitted very little and very neutral evidence. The Chief Rabbi did not even bother to reply.136 The Committee’s recommendations on 28 Dec 1926 included a new draft Censorship Law.137 O’Higgins set in train moves towards it, but was assassinated in reprisals by Republican extremists when on the way to Mass on 10 July 1927.138 The new law was passed late in 1928 and in operation from early 1929. As just one small footnote, I return to that ‘Black List’ referred to in the small print on the ‘Satan Smut and Co.’ front page of the Irish Independent. It was indeed available and open for augmentation. Among the records on ‘Evil Literature’, in the Irish State Archives, you’ll find both a printed Black List and a subsequent TS one, the only difference being that the latter adds (at the bottom, centre) ‘Pears’ Annual’.

Plates 28-29. Two ‘Black Lists’ from the ‘Evil Literature’ papers, a printed and subsequently a typed list of ‘Some Objectionable Papers and Periodicals’, the latter showing the addition of Pears’ Annual. Images courtesy the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin.

CENSORSHIP: YEATS’S PRESCIENCE

  • 139 ‘A terrible responsibility has been thrust upon me. I merely rose to say that I thought I could com (...)
  • 140 In ‘Compulsory Gaelic’ he was to fight to keep open Ulster’s eventual union in a United Ireland: se (...)
  • 141 When finally published in The Dial, February 1926, ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ contained a n (...)
  • 142 ‘Current Topics’, The Leader, 21 February 1925, 56–57. The Leader even averred that Yeats was not a (...)

84On 7 June 1923, when the Censorship of Films Bill had been debated, WBY had told the Seanad how ‘Artists and Writers’ including Synge and Goethe had wrestled with the moral problems of reader-response, insisting against press exaggeration ‘I think you can leave the arts … to the general conscience of mankind’.139 By 1926, as the clamour for a new Censorship Act forced the Evil Literature Committee into being, the Statesman came under unrelenting attack from The Catholic Bulletin and Our Boys. Senator Yeats responded with ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’. Russell had published several of Yeats’s essays,140 but feared this one might ‘endanger [the] existence’ of his paper,141 so ferocious was the sectarian attack on what the Irish-Ireland Leader had called the ‘Hairy Fairy coterie’.142

  • 143 New Criterion 4:2, April 1926: see Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, The Letters of t. s. Eliot Vol (...)

85In February 1926, it appeared in The Dial, which had first published ‘The Second Coming’ in 1920. It was then republished in t. s. Eliot’s New Criterion in April 1926, where it appeared as ‘The Need for Religious Sincerity’, a textual change which suggests that, from an English point of view, it had required ‘audacity’ in Ireland even to question the ‘religious sincerity’ of Catholic clerics.143 For Yeats this had been the question raised by the ‘Cherry Tree Carol’ burning.

[A]ll follows as a matter of course the moment you admit the Incarnation. When Joseph has uttered the doubt which the Bible also has put into his mouth, the Creator of the world, having become flesh, commands from the Virgin’s womb, and his creation obeys. There is the whole mystery—God, in the indignity of human birth, all that seemed impossible, blasphemous even, to many early heretical sects, and all set forth in an old ‘sing-song’ that has yet a mathematical logic. I have thought it out again and again and I can see no reason for the anger of the Christian Brothers, except that they do not believe in the Incarnation. They think they believe in it, but they do not, and its sudden presentation fills them with horror, and to hide that horror they turn upon the poem (CW10 199).

  • 144 See also Catherine E. Paul, ‘w. b. Yeats and the Problem of Belief’, below 295–311.

86Yeats then proceeds to contrast his own beliefs with the confusion of the poem’s critics.144

I do not believe in the Incarnation in the Church’s sense of that word, and I know that I do not, and yet seeing that, like most men of my kind these fifty years, I desire belief, the old Carol and all similar Art delight me. But the Christian Brothers think that they believe and, suddenly confronted with the reality of their own thought, cover up their eyes.

87While ‘The Madonna of Slieve Dun’ had ‘roused as much horror as the Cherry Tree Carol’.

Mr. Lennox Robinson and I want to understand the Incarnation, and we think that we cannot understand any historical event till we have set it amidst new circumstance. We grew up with the story of the Bible; the Mother of God is no Catholic possession; she is a part of our imagination.
[N]either the Irish Religious Press nor those Ecclesiastics [who resigned from the Carnegie Committee] believe in the Second Coming. I do not believe in it—at least not in its Christian form—and I know that I do not believe, but they think that they do.
To believe is to accept that the consequences of belief are not ‘unendurable’. Belief makes minds ‘more abundant, more imaginative, more full of fantasy even … to deny that play of mind is to make belief itself impossible’.

  • 145 Yeats also cites here the cry of Ruysbroeck: ‘I must rejoice without ceasing, even if the world shu (...)

88Summoning further writers stirred by ‘a perception of the infinite’ such as Joyce and Synge but with due allowance for the differences between their art and his lyric mysticism,145 Yeats then declares that the ‘intellect of Ireland is irreligious’ and that

its moral system, being founded upon habit, not intellectual conviction, has shown of late that it cannot resist the onset of modern life …. We are quick to hate and slow to love; and we have never lacked a Press to excite the most evil passions’ hence the need for ‘audacity’ of speculation and creation.

89Berkeley had provided Yeats with his classic catch-phrase for Irish Exceptionalism, ‘We Irish do not hold with this’, but modern Press demagoguery was pitiless. He did not ‘condemn those who were shocked by the naïve faith of the old Carol or by Mr. Lennox Robinson’s naturalism’ but claimed

  • 146 All of these quotations are taken from ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’, CW10 199–200.

a right to condemn those who encourage a Religious Press so discourteous as to accuse a man of Mr. Lennox Robinson’s eminence of a deliberate insult to the Christian religion, and so reckless as to make that charge without examination of his previous work; and a system which has left the education of Irish children in the hands of men so ignorant that they do not recognise the most famous Carol in the English language.146

  • 147 The Catholic Bulletin, eventually however, did, and, for the moment, saved its powder. See below, 2 (...)
  • 148 Information from Anna White to Deirdre Toomey.

90The Evil Literature Committee is unlikely to have read The Dial or the New Criterion and the essay is not in their Archive.147 Nor are the two final shots in Yeats’s ‘vain battle’ against Censorship. On 18 July1928, he was taken ill during what was to prove his last Senate meeting, and he formally retired on 28 September, ‘The Censorship and St. Thomas Aquinas’ having been published by The Irish Statesman on 22nd, amid several weeks of debate and letters on the Censorship Bill. According to Yeats’s reading of Aquinas (possibly with the help of Iseult Gonne—her daughter-in-law Imogen Stuart said Iseult Stuart should have been an historian of religion148—the Censorship Bill’s definition of ‘Indecency’ was theologically unsound. The social imperatives of the Vigilantes were therefore contrary to Catholic belief as found in its official doctrine, the Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274).

  • 149 Plato and Descartes [in the 17th c.] had ‘considered the soul as a substance completely distinct fr (...)

91The Bill declared that ‘the word “indecent” shall be construed as including “calculated to excite sexual passion”’, a ‘definition, ridiculous to a man of letters, must be sacrilegious to a Thomist’ said Yeats. The wording of the act was a ‘blunder’. St. Thomas had laid down that ‘the soul is wholly present in the whole body and in all its parts—“anima rationalis est tota in toto corpore et tota in qualibet parte corporis”’.149 Yeats thought this doctrine an especial glory of the Catholic Church, responsible for the radical change in Western Art, whereby Byzantine depictions of a Christ with ‘a face of pitiless intellect’, or of the Mary as ‘a sour ascetic’, a ‘pinched, flat-breasted virgin holding a child like a wooden doll’ gave way to the fullness of Renaissance art. After Aquinas, the Virgin could be depicted as ‘a woman so natural nobody complained when Andrea del Sarto chose for his model his wife, or Raphael his mistress, and represented her with all the patience of his “sexual passion”’. Titian could paint ‘an entirely voluptuous body’, worthy of the [15th line in] Browning’s ‘A Toccata of Galuppi’s’, ‘[O’er t]he breast’s superb abundance where a man might base his head’. Titian’s ‘Sacred and Profane Love’ (1514), is usually interpreted as showing Profane Love or Aphrodite Pandemos clothed, as on the left, while on the right, is Venus Urania (Heavenly Venus), unclothed.

  • 150 John Howley ‘a Thomist of over forty years’ standing’ claimed the essay foundered on a category err (...)

92Were ‘the lawyers who drew up the Bill, and any member of the Dáil or Senate who thinks of voting for it’ to glance at this painting, says Yeats, they should ‘ask themselves if there is no one it could not incite to “sexual passion”’. ‘[A] criticism growing always more profound establishes that [immoral painting and immoral literature] … are bad paintings and bad literature’; he wrote, a ‘sin always in some way against “in toto corpore”’. Censorship should be left to the judgement of those ‘learned in art and letters’ or ‘to average educated men’. It was not necessary to ‘compel them … with a definition’. Only one Thomist wrote in to The Irish Statesman to protest Yeats’s interpretation but as he confused Boethius with Augustine, he can be disregarded.150

  • 151 Eason’s took 200 copies, and the rest were a few direct subscriptions. See Cullen, 271.
  • 152 SS 175 (headnote).
  • 153 NC 249. See also below, 311–16.
  • 154 The soul ‘coming into possession of itself forever in a single moment’ (CW13 61; CVA 73) is an idea (...)
  • 155 OED thinks Johnson wrong for defining (1755) ‘Eviternityas ‘duration not infinitely, but indefini (...)

93Yeats’s insistence on education’s prevailing over ignorance—a constant theme in these three essays—grows with ‘The Irish Censorship’, published on 29 September in The Spectator. Few Senators would have read it, for The Spectator sold little more than 200 copies each week in Ireland.151 ‘The Irish Censorship’ ‘would have formed the substance of his speech on censorship had he still been a member of the Senate’ says Donald Pearce.152 but all three essays offer deep insight into Yeats’s aesthetic, moral, and religious beliefs, as well as polemical purpose. ‘Nothing is unimportant in belief’, says Owen Aherne in The Tables of the Law (M2005, 195). Yeats once told Cecil Salkeld that he believed Eternity was not a matter of duration, but something as short as ‘the glitter on a beetle’s wing’.153 In numerous places he claims that ‘Eternity is the possession of one’s self, as in a single moment’, an idea he had from Aquinas in 1894, when he first saw and read Villiers de L’Isle Adam’s Axel. There Aquinas is quoted as saying—the translation is h. p. r. Finberg’s—’For eternity, as Saint Thomas well remarks, is merely the full and entire possession of oneself in one and the same instant’.154 Aquinas objected to the Boethian idea that eternity was ‘interminable’ and drew a distinction between eternity and ‘aeviternity’, or everlasting duration, as in the ‘sempiternal’.155

Plate 30. Titian’s ‘Sacred and Profane Love’ (1514), Borghese Gallery, Rome. Image Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​FUe:Tiziano_-_Amor_Sacro_y_Amor_Profaiio_(Galer%C3%ADa_Borghese,_Roma,_1514).jpg

  • 156 CW10 211–12 and n.
  • 157 VSR 137; M2005 183.
  • 158 Sometimes this occurs during orgasm, as in ‘On Woman’ or in ‘Leda and the Swan’ but also, as in ‘Th (...)

94If the soul ‘is wholly present in the whole body and in all its parts—“anima rationalis est tota in toto corpore et tota in qualibet parte corporis”’, Yeats believed that this kind of eternity could be a supernatural irruption of the eternal into the temporal.156 The sensing in the body, for an instant, of the soul’s eternal self-possession. was a matter of miracle, not of vision. Thus, in Rosa Alchemica (1896), ‘it seemed to me I was so changed that I was no more, as man is, a moment shuddering at eternity, but eternity weeping and laughing over a moment’.157 ‘Shudder’ in all its forms—Yeats used it in all its combinations no fewer than fifty-four times—frequently indicates a supernatural encounter.158

  • 159 ‘Some thousands’ of up to eleven English Sunday newspapers were forcibly removed at gunpoint by mas (...)

95Yeats deplored the Bill which, he says, ‘[t]he Free State Government … hates, which must be expounded and defended by Ministers full of contempt for their own words’. Yeats also deplored the ‘Society of Angelic Welfare’, the young men who ‘stop trains armed with automatics and take from the guard’s van bundles of English newspapers’, as happened in Dundalk on 1 May 1927.159

  • 160 Yeats thought that the ‘great numbers of small shopkeepers and station-masters who vaguely disappro (...)

96The ‘enthusiasts’ were ‘all the better pleased because the newspapers they burn are English, and their best public support has come from a newspaper that wants to exclude its rivals… every country passing out of automatism passes through demoralization’ before passing on ‘into intelligence’.160 Above all he deplored the ‘incredible ignorance’ of the burning of ‘a glory of the mediaeval church as popular in Gaelic as in English’. ‘[S]candalised by its naiveté’, Craven, as we have seen, had

  • 161 On this ‘exposure’, c. October 1926, see below, 208–10.

believed it the work of some irreligious modern poet; and this man is so confident in the support of an ignorance even greater than his own that a year after his exposure in the Press, he permitted, or directed his society to base an appeal for public support [the paid advertisement in the Irish Independent with which I began] which filled the front page of a principal Dublin newspaper, upon the destruction of this ‘infamous’ poem.161

97The Censorship of Publications Bill, 1928 proposed a five person committee under the control of the Minister of Justice who’ would pronounce on books and periodicals complained of by recognised associations and say whether they are ‘indecent’, which word ‘shall be construed as including calculated to excite sexual passions or to suggest or incite to sexual immorality or in any other way to corrupt or deprave’, or whether, if it be not ‘indecent’ it inculcates ‘principles contrary to public morality’, or ‘tends to be injurious or detrimental to or subversive of public morality’. This included paintings and advertisements for birth control devices. The Minister of Justice would ‘control… the substance of our thought, for its definition of “indecency” and such vague phrases as “subversive of public morality”, permit him to exclude The Origin of Species [sic], Karl Marx’s Capital, the novels of Flaubert, Balzac, Proust, all of which have been objected to somewhere on moral grounds, half the Greek and Roman Classics, Anatole France and everybody else on the Roman index, and all great love poetry’. Yeats was sure that the

Government does not intend these things to happen … but in legislation intention is nothing, and the letter of the law everything, and no Government has the right, whether to flatter fanatics or in mere vagueness of mind to forge an instrument of tyranny and say that it will never be used,

  • 162 A piece bitterly attacked by the Catholic Bulletin in its comprehensive summaries of the press batt (...)
  • 163 CW10 218. See also above, on ‘shudder’ in Yeats, 197 and n. 158.

98especially not in a society with such backward education and teaching as Yeats averred Ireland’s to be. He knew from experience that theatre ‘rioters—to-day’s newspaper burners … rock the cradle of a man of genius’. The current rage would eventually ‘bring the stage under a mob censorship acting through “recognized associations”’. Above all, the immense popularity of censorship as the twenties drew to a close in reality exploited what Yeats saw as an under-educated body, the ordinary Catholic population. ‘Zealots’ led to ‘helots’, as he had told the Manchester Guardian on 22 August 1928.162 He was certain that ‘Our imaginative movement has its energy from just that combination of new and old, of old stories, old poetry, old belief in God and the soul, and a modern technique’. The Irish were different. ‘Synge’s “Playboy” and O’Casey’s “Plough and the Stars”’ had been attacked because, like “The Cherry Tree Carol”, they contain what a belief, tamed down into a formula, shudders at, something wild and ancient’.163 It is in that exultant light that we must recall the remark to Derek Verschoyle in 1933 ‘my writings have to germinate out of each other’.

  • 164 See above 124, n. 4, ‘I spent about ten days on the thing and its not worth the trouble. It is some (...)
  • 165 See below, Appendix, 208.

99When he made it, Yeats was writing what he declared to be his last book review and retreating from a lifetime’s ability to make creative unities out of irreconcilable realities.164 ‘Vain battle’ was a theme of ‘the embittered heart’ (VP 629), but, retired from public life in an embittered Ireland, he preferred, as he told the Sunday Times, as he departed for Rapallo, to be ‘out of politics’. Censorship, ‘the greatest attack on liberty of thought made by any West European nation’ was ‘driving Intellect into Exile’. He was adamant: until education was improved, local democracy was not going to be efficacious, a point also made in On the Boiler (E&I 439–41). ‘I’d like to spend my old age as a bee and not as a wasp’.165

  • 166 Cullen’s is the best account of this period.
  • 167 The self-suppression and burning had happened when the catalogue of what became the County Galway L (...)
  • 168 For evidence of its use in Carol Services in the period, see, e.g., The Irish Times, 20 December 19 (...)
  • 169 This did not mean that they may not propose legislation ‘asked for by one Church alone, but that th (...)

100The new Censorship of Publications Act became law early in 1929; the News of the World was banned in 1930 for seven years until loss of revenue made the wholesalers successfully lead an appeal to the Government.166 Though Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and other books were soon banned by the Censorship of Publications Board, Ulysses was never banned. Not only did the Act enshrine Catholic values purportedly shared by the 93% of the population who were of that religion, it suited the home-grown cultural vision of De Valera. Self-suppressions such as the Galway library committee’s removal and burning of books from libraries in 1924 and 1925, continued.167 Ireland remained split between the zealots of Vigilance and those who annually sang the ‘Cherry Tree Carol’ in churches, Catholic and Protestant.168 In the 1937 Constitution, blasphemy was prohibited by Article 40.6.1.i. The 1939 Emergency Powers Act extended censorship of newspapers in war-time, and the Censorship of Publications Act was replaced and strengthened in 1946. The common law offence of blasphemous libel, applicable only to Christianity and last prosecuted in 1855, was ruled in 1999 to be incompatible with the Constitution’s guarantee of religious equality. Birth control, practised by the well-to-do in Yeats’s day, and foreseen by him as increasingly necessary foreshadowed what (in 2009) was to mark the slow unravelling of Censorship: the perception that its prevention ‘favour[ed] one religion at the expense of another’ and so was unconstitutional.169 Ireland remains the only European country to (re)enact a Blasphemy Law (2009) in this century, and now faces a referendum on the issue, shelved after the Charlie Hebdo assassinations.

  • 170 The reviews of obituaries and the writings of Aodh de Blacam and Stephen Quinn, even of Daniel Cork (...)

101In 1940, t. s. Eliot, a poet English by choice, reminded a Dublin audience that Yeats’s life had been the history of his own times. By implication, so is his work. The Catholic Bulletin obituaries, however, grandly rejected the whole idea that Yeats had even been an Irish poet.170 In true republican style, they were a volley of shots over the grave.

Setting Yeats’s writings about censorship back into these contemporary Irish seas of print provides more than annotation of them. Yeats’s perspective upon Irish fissiparity demonstrates afresh the wisdom of Roy Foster’s remark that Yeats ‘possessed a protean ability to shift his ground, repossess the advantage and lay a claim to authority—always with an eye to how people would see things afterwards’ in ‘the wake of the many and inevitable unforeseen setbacks’ (Life 1 xxxi)

102Nearly all my exhibits are to be found only in paper archives. Despite the growth of online databases, access to primary materials themselves is indispensable, and archivists and librarians are crying out for them to be used. How remote they seem from theme-based, abstraction-driven, ‘top-down’ pedagogies, such as ‘Modernism, where only a few archival materials are routinely retweeted from the few who’ve been there. Advanced study is to be distinguished from primary study not by abstraction, or recourse to the idées reçues of ‘Theory’. Professors Bouvard and Pécuchet often steer students to formulaic research questions and predictable methodologies whereby they ‘interrogate’ —without understanding what the word means—current criticism, and fail to get into the archive for themselves—as arguably some of their professors have failed to do.

  • 171 See Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men (1904), 312; see Gods and Fighting Men etc., with a Preface (...)

103All editors write footnotes to some future ‘bottom-up’ annotation-based literary history. Editorial furtiveness, by hinting that a matter is not worth annotation, flees from readerly anticipation. To Finn McCumhail, ‘the sweetest music is the music of what happens’.171 That is the editor’s deformation professionelle. 152 years after Yeats’s birth, and 77 years after Eliot’s words, Yeats can still be patronized by ‘imposed views’ rejecting him from a Nativist point of view or subjugating him into new narratives of Modernism, both perspectives ultimately mere historical curiosities. Meanwhile, the circumstances of his writing life remain open to fresh discovery.

Annexes

*

APPENDIX

I print below (1) Yeats’s interview with the Manchester Guardian’s Irish Correspondent on 22 August 1928 and (2) with a special correspondent of the Sunday Times, 21 October 1928. Both concern the impending Censorship in Ireland. In the light of the above essay, they require little by way of annotation. I have, however, added a short summary of the impact which such statements by Yeats had upon The Catholic Bulletin, which had evidently kept a vigilant eye on all that he had published on Irish Censorship, both in Seanad speeches, in Irish periodicals, and in English journals.

1. ‘Censorship in Ireland. The Free State Bill. Senator W. B. Yeats’s Views. (From our Irish Correspondent.)’ Manchester Guardian, 22 August 1928, 5.

The Free State Censorship Bill has at length been printed and published, some weeks after its introduction into the Dáil. It will come up again for consideration in October, and Mr. De Valera has promised facilities to secure swift passage of a measure based on the report of the Evil Literature Commission. The important clauses of the bill are briefly as follows.

A censorship board is to be set up consisting of five fit and proper persons appointed by the Minister of Justice to hold office for three years. A majority of four members of the Board can on receipt of a complaint from a recognised association advise the Minister to prohibit the importation of any book which is indecent, or obscene, or tends to inculcate principles contrary to public morality or is otherwise, in the opinion of the Board, subversive of public morality. A periodical may similarly be banned if the Board holds that its recent issues have frequently been indecent, obscene, or subversive of public morality. The definition of ‘indecent’ is extended to cover matter calculated to excite sexual passion or in any other way to corrupt or deprave. Further, it is to be unlawful without permit to print, sell, or distribute any book or periodical which might reasonably be supposed to advocate the unnatural prevention of conception. Lastly, section 3 of the Indecent Advertisement Act of 1889 is to be deemed to include advertisements which relate to any venereal disease, or to drugs, appliances, or methods for preventing conception.

Importing the Index

In an interview with your correspondent Senator w. b. Yeats commented upon the bill as follows:-

This bill, if it becomes law, may inflict a dangerous wound on the Irish intellect. At the least it will degrade us in the eyes of the modern world. The first Board of Censors appointed will probably include men of liberal minds, but the Board will be exposed to organised pressure brought to bear by associations of honest zealots, who will have the support of ‘our greatest newspaper’, which is interested in excluding competitors from the Irish market. If the Board resists this pressure, it will be applied to the Cabinet, and at the end of three years a new Board will be appointed, perhaps by the rival political party, to give effect to the popular or ecclesiastical view of the ‘interests of public morality’. Then if a new scientific work is published, as important and as disruptive of popular beliefs as ‘The Origin of the Species’ was in its day, we may find the book excluded from Ireland. Some of the recognised associations would like to give legal validity to the whole Roman Index Expurgatorius, and if they can control the Board they can do so under this Bill. The works of Anatole France are on the Roman Index and have a large sale in Dublin, much to the alarm of the zealots.

The Zealot’s Opportunity

I will show you how unlikely it is that the Board will be able to resist the pressure. You will notice that the Bill outlaws the advocacy of artificial birth control. You may take it that in this respect the views and practice of the well-to-do class here are much the same as he views and practice of the well-to-do class in any other European country. Yet I doubt whether a one single member of the Dail will be bold enough openly to oppose this clause in the bill. There, you see, is our weakness. Every educated man in Ireland hates this bill. I suspect that every member of the Cabinet hates it. Whence the delay in publication. But the zealots have been wise in their generation; they have struck at the moment when the country is unprepared to resist. The old regime left Ireland perhaps the worst-educated country in Northern Europe: with some boys leaving school at twelve, some never gong at all, and teachers who never opened a book out of school hours. We were helots, and where you have the helot there the zealot reigns unchallenged. And our zealots’ idea of establishing the Kingdom of God upon earth is to make Ireland an island of moral cowards. In ten years’ time, when our new School Attendance Act and our new teachers’ training colleges have done their work, our zealots would be laughed at if they pressed for legislation of this sort. But today there is great danger that they will have their way, or most of it, and impose their shackles upon our thoughts.

To return to the substance of the bill. I can’t attempt now to examine the bearing of the new definition of indecency upon literature. This is a question which will have to be examined in detail by my fellow-authors. But I call your attention to the fact that the bill provides for the attendance of a prosecutor, but nothing is said about facilities for defence. Again, you see that advertisements for venereal disease are to be illegal.

Driving the Young in Blinkers

We should encourage the wretched sufferers to seek treatment, not hide remedies from them. It may be reasonable to protect them against quack remedies, but this is not the object of a clause in a censorship bill, based on the recommendation of a Commission which did not contain a single medical man. The object is to hide the remedies that the penalties of sin may be the greater. It is mediaeval legislation. The object of the whole bill is to hide knowledge from the eyes of our young people lest knowledge be abused. The report of the Evil Literature Commission strove to reconcile them to this by suggesting that other countries are ‘ahead’ of us and England in their zeal for maintaining what is alleged to be the Christian standard of sexual morality [sic]. But the report did not tell them how far foreign legislation against birth control, for instance, is the result of the capitalist desire for more cheap labour or of the militarists’ desire for increased manpower—abundant crops of cannon-fodder. There is a taint of hypocrisy about the whole proceedings. Everyone knows that the practice of the well-to-do class will not be affected by this legislation. It is the poor who are to be condemned to continue in virtuous ignorance and to suffer accordingly.

The zealots are alarmed by what people call ‘the post-war demoralization’, and they would therefore drive our young people in blinkers. The young people of Ireland do not deserve to be treated as if they were fools or dolts. They need no more protection than the young people of England or France. Let our zealots do what they will, they cannot retain the old order unchanged in Ireland. The new world keeps breaking in. Our young people are right to welcome it, and they must learn to choose the good and eschew the evil for themselves.

2. MR. YEATS ON IRISH CENSORSHIP. DRIVING INTELLECT INTO EXILE. NEW BILL ‘FULL OF DANGER’. Sunday Times 21 October 1928, 21. By A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Mr. w. b. Yeats, the Irish poet, thinks literature is in for another Victorian era. He sees censorship becoming a cult, particularly in Ireland, where the literary movement he champions is gravely threatened.

Mr. Yeats is now in London en route to Rapallo, where he is going to spend the winter. Yesterday he said to me, referring to the Irish censorship proposals: ‘They are the greatest attack on the liberty of thought by any West European nation’.

The Bill empowers the Minister of Justice to appoint a board of five persons who will give judgment n books or periodicals submitted to him on the complaint of certain ‘registered associations’ (such as the Catholic Truth Society). If the board decides that a book is ‘indecent’ it will be banned. One section of the Bill forbids the sale or distribution of any book or periodical which advocates or contains an advertisement of any book or periodical which advocates birth control.

CONSCIENCE OF MANKIND

‘The Bill’, said Mr. Yeats, ‘means that the five men appointed by the Minister of Justice will be responsible for the intellectual life of the nation. The Minister has said that no author, however great his name, shall escape consideration by the board.

‘“A work of art”, it has been said, “is a portion of the conscience of mankind”, but that conscience must dwindle in Dublin to the conscience of five men. For instance, the Minister’s recognised associations would be bitterly disappointed if a novel like Liam O’Flaherty’s “The Informer” were passed by the Board, though it is the finest piece of work by an Irishman since the founding of the Free State.

‘Already priests in Galway have publicly burnt the works of Shaw and Maeterlink [sic], and an attempt has been made to take the novels of Balzac out of Rathmines public library. It is clear the Minister means to strike at literature.

‘This is a Bill full of danger. Even if amended as suggested much of the greatest literature in the world will be excluded from the country.

‘The section on birth control will allow the police, without reference to the Minister, to seize Shaw’s “The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism” because it contains a page or two on contraception.

‘This section will automatically exclude periodicals like “Nature”, “The New Statesman”, and “The Spectator”. And this exclusion will make it practically impossible for a scholar to know what is being said or done throughout the world on his subject. It will strike at the efficiency of the Irish people, more and more so with the problem of the increasing population. Ireland will become increasingly insular’.

THE WAY OF CENSORS

‘I dread the effect of the Bill, unless radically altered, on the whole future intellectual life of Ireland’, Mr. Yeats added. ‘No matter how good the intentions of the censors may be, blunder after blunder will be committed. That is the way of censors everywhere, even when they have no sectarian influence prompting them.

‘Thirty years ago, when the present literary movement in Ireland began, every Irish writer was writing for the English market and living in England. We have created a native literature, a vigorous intellectual life in Dublin. But the blundering of a censorship may drive much Irish intellect into exile once more and turn what remains into a bitter, polemical energy.

‘We have created something at once daring and beautiful and gracious, and I may see my life’s work and that of my friends—Synge, “Æ.”, and Lady Gregory—sinking down into a mire of clericalism and anti-clericalism’.

Mr. Yeats is going to Rapallo, tired of long controversies, and, it would seem, dejected by the Government proposals. In future he will be in Dublin only in the summer. He has done much for Ireland; his theatre is a world-wide success, but he is finished with politics. His term as a Senator is over, and he has not sought re-election.

‘Yes, I am glad to be out of politics’, he concluded. I’d like to spend my old age as a bee and not as a wasp’.

*

Gogarty does not just get Yeats’s wonderful pride when ‘An Old Poem Rewritten’ appeared in the Statesman (a rebuke to Russell’s stunted love for the early work as much as anything). ‘To some spiteful persons’ has the hawk soaring above the crowd of starlings, and never ‘stoop[ing] to strike’ —a just assessment of Yeats’s restraint with his detractors at the ‘chattering dyke’ of the Catholic press. After the Nobel prize, his realm of international reference and influence simply took him beyond the Irish audience he yet tried to educate, so as to take them with him.

In response, these interviews were predictably dismissed in the Irish Catholic press. After the Manchester Guardian interview, the Irish Independent sneered at Yeats’s description of ‘Zealots’ in ‘Censorship: Mr. Yeats’s Peculiar Views’ (23 August 1928, 5). The Sunday Times interview was dismissed thus ‘As a Bee—Not a Wasp: Senator Yeats in his old age’ (Irish Independent, 22 October, 6). The Observer offered support by way of a noble letter from Charles Ricketts. Hearing of measures by the puritanical Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks—who banned The Well of Loneliness and forced the expurgation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover—to introduce Censorship in England, Ricketts grandly dismissed him from the Miltonic perspective as a ‘temporary official’ bent on reviving ‘Mrs Grundy’ (21 October 1928, 10).

The Catholic Bulletin had been silent after the publication of ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ (in the US, ‘The Need for Religious Sincerity’ in England). In September, however, ‘Purging the Pride of Pollexfen’ appeared over the name of ‘Molua’ —a nom de plume notorious even then.172 ‘Molua’ pretended to be merely a ‘reader’ of the paper, but Corcoran’s hand was immediately recognisable in the relentless alliteration of the title and of almost every sentence in the piece which was not a quotation from ‘The Need for Religious Sincerity’. He had found an autographed—he speculates a presentation—copy of the April 1926 New Criterion (5/-) on the Dublin Quays in August for 4d (he never discovered The Dial printing). Yeats’s essay was a crucial document for him. After four pages of flourish and triumph over Yeats’s note to the piece, Corcoran elected to

exhibit … classified specimens of the wares refused by Plunkett House, Merrion Square … as Senator W. Butler Pollexfen Yeats leads off on a note about the Irish Christian Brothers, we, too, shall accord them precedence. Of course, we apologise for the company in which we have to range them: but they will have consolation when they see the effect they have had on the proud spirit of Pollexfen.
(a) ‘Some weeks ago, a Dublin friend of mine got through the post a circular from the Christian Brothers’.
(
b) ‘I have a right to condemn … a system which has left the education of Irish children in the hands of men so ignorant’.

The ellipses are his own. What follows is a further page and a half of quotes from Yeats, offered as if their falsity in terms of belief were self-evident, and with no attempt even to oppose them with the invincible dogma Corcoran believed himself to share with all of his paper’s readers. The piece returns, several times, to what Yeats had written about the Christian Brothers. The words suppressed are shown below in bold.

I have a right to condemn those who encourage a Religious Press so discourteous as to accuse a man of Mr. Lennox Robinson’s eminence of a deliberate insult to the Christian religion, and so reckless as to make that charge without examination of his previous work; and a system which has left the education of Irish children in the hands of men so ignorant that they do not recognise the most famous Carol in the English language.

When he quotes Yeats on the Christian Brothers ‘they do not believe in the Incarnation. They think they believe in it, but they do not’, he suppresses its context, again, about the ‘Cherry Tree Carol’

[A]ll follows as a matter of course the moment you admit the Incarnation. When Joseph has uttered the doubt which the Bible also has put into his mouth, the Creator of the world, having become flesh, commands from the Virgin’s womb, and his creation obeys. There is the whole mystery—God, in the indignity of human birth, all that seemed impossible, blasphemous even, to many early heretical sects, and all set forth in an old ‘sing-song’ that has yet a mathematical logic. I have thought it out again and again and I can see no reason for the anger of the Christian Brothers, except that they do not believe in the Incarnation. They think they believe in it, but they do not, and its sudden presentation fills them with horror, and to hide that horror they turn upon the poem (CW10 199).

Such an utterance (Corcoran concludes) is

an index of what the Senator styles … ‘thinking’ done with ‘diplomacies and prudences put away’: a phrase that is also his bitter comment on the new prudence of Plunkett House regarding his ‘Notes on Irish Events’. Mr. Yeats concludes with a sentence on the Irish Christian Brothers: ‘I have a right to condemn a system which has left the education in that hands of men so ignorant’. Excellent testimony, this, to their educational zeal and efficacy. The Pride of Pollexfen is being Purged.173

‘Molua’s’ piece omits Yeats’s point of departure, the burning ‘in effigy’ of Pears’Annual, the preservation of the centre-fold of ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’ as an example of ‘devilish literature’, its circulation accompanying a circular, and the evidence for the Christian Brothers’ ‘ignorance’ of a Carol of which ‘Dr Hyde has given us an Irish version in his Religious Songs of Connaught’ (CW10, 198). This suppressio veri via ‘retweet’ may be read as panic and bluster, but it gave undeniable publicity to the Christian Brothers’ ignorance. Whether this is the ‘exposure’ in the Press to which Yeats refers in ‘The Irish Censorship’ or whether some the paper took up the challenge and offered further exposure is not clear (at the time of writing, December 2017).

In the end, a pride in his own mulishness prevailed with Bro. Canice Craven. Our Boys issued its ‘Satan, Smut & Co.’ advertisement on 27 October 1927. After the passage of the Bill became inevitable, the Bulletin attempted to sum up with a fresh arrogance the entire press controversy over the impending Irish Censorship in its editorials for October, November, and December. Its first act was to dismiss ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ and its charges against Craven’s ignorance as ‘a peculiarly vicious attack on Irish Catholic Schools and teachers’.174 For the Bulletin, the Censorship of Publications Bill, 1928 was simply the ‘Evil Literature Bill’, and its initial focus in October was on the connexion between ‘Yeats, Russell and Foul Literature’. The ‘Mahatma’ and the ‘Yogi’ respectively were to be pilloried for their very professional synchronising of their statements in the English and Irish Press. Thus, because the Manchester Guardian interview appeared on 22 August and the Irish Statesman editorialized on the same subject on the following day, it was an occasion for the Bulletin to engage in comparative textual criticism. It rejoiced that the ‘subsidised’ Irish Statesman was in such financial difficulty that Russell had brought Yeats to see that ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ would ‘endanger [The Irish Statesman’s] existence’ and so placed it in The Dial and The Criterion (see above, 190 n. 141.) The Bulletin’s focus, as ever, was to provide a running commentary on the respective views of the Statesman, The Irish Times, and of course the hated English papers, almost as if refereeing a match between those organs of opinion rather as if it were not itself a player. Time was on their side, the Bulletin felt: the Irish Statesman could be starved into submission. For the Bulletin, the ‘cult of Joyce’ had led to the moral degeneracy in the name of ‘noble literature’ championed by the Mahatma and the Yogi and all at Plunkett House, and when AE hoped that a passage from what was to become Finnegans Wake (1939) was not a ‘Mysterious mush’, the Bulletin crowed and reprinted the passage. Yeats’s Manchester Guardian interview had been candid about class and birth control; he and Russell were therefore ‘Purveyors of filth … strut[ting] on their own sewage heaps’.175 When The Irish Times quoted with broad sympathy from a speech by the Bishop of Durham against the ‘moral chaos’ of contemporary values, the Bulletin captiously alerted that paper to its flip-flopping support for more liberal views.176 against its birth control editorialized. Under the heading ‘Plunkett House Activities’, the December Bulletin emphasized the alignment between the Statesman, Trinity College, and the Irish Times when it came to amendments sought to the Censorship Bill.177 Yeats did not lose all waspishness: ‘[O]ne cannot be non-political in Ireland’ he wrote to Dermot MacManus, before mentioning a deputation from the Academy [which] saw the Minister of Justice on Monday about the banning of Shaw’s book & I think may get the ban removed. If so it will be the first check to the censors.178 The Minister said it was the pictures they minded upon which I unrolled before his plainly astonished eyes a large photograph of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel & pointed out that there were not even fig-leaves.179

Notes

1 Note—Further information may have been gathered since this article was prepared for publication. If you would like to find out if any further information has been discovered that may help your own research, why not write to the author at warwick.gould@sas.ac.uk? Apart from anything else, feedback is always welcomed.

2 ‘Life turned into something else’ in The Guardian, 2 May 2015 (Review, 2–3) see also ‘Art Doesn’ t Just Capture the Thrill of Life … Sometimes it is that Thrill’, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/02/julian-barnes-art-doesntcapture-thrill-of-life. Barnes counsels that this exhibition in 2000 ‘deliberately’ did not ‘seek […] to instruct’ (ibid.). Subsequently collected as the introduction to Barnes’s Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art (London: Jonathan Cape, 2015), 7–8.

3 I think of James Shapiro’s 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2006), or his 1606: The Year of Lear (2015).

4 21 May 1933, to Derek Verschoyle, CL InteLex 5877; L, 809.

5 From ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’, The Dial, February 1926, collected in CW10 198–202.

6 From ‘The Irish Censorship’, The Spectator, 29 September 1928, collected in CW10 214–18.

7 l. m. Cullen, Eason & Son: A History (Dublin: Eason and Son, 1989), passim, but see 234–36, 268. Hereafter ‘Cullen’. See also Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, ‘The Erotics of the Ballad’, in Tumult of Images: Essays on w. b. Yeats, ed. by Peter Liebregts and Peter van de Kamp, 109–30 (119). This book is volume 3 of c. c. Barfoot, Theo D’haen and Tjebbe A. Westerndorp, gen. eds., The Literature of Politics, the Politics of Literature: Proceedings of the Leiden IASAIL Conference (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1995). When her paper was reprinted in her Gender and History in Yeats’s Love Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 165–84, the passage was omitted. Professor Cullingford had been unable to locate her sources in April 2015, but kindly suggested that it might have been ‘a later critic’ or (less possibly) a newspaper. It seems possible that Cullen had indeed been her source.

8 CL InteLex 4039, 22 December 1921, to Olivia Shakespear.

9 See Roy Foster’s excellent pages on the events, 1922–28, Life 2 204–365.

10 See CW5 422, n. 12.

11 See The Bounty of Sweden: A Meditation, and a Lecture delivered before the Royal Swedish Academy and Certain Notes by William Butler Yeats (Dublin: Cuala, 1925); later collected in Au 531 and ff.; CW3 289 and ff.

12 Nobel´s Will is at http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/will-full.html

13 ‘The Nobel Prize in Literature 1923’, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1923/

14 Emphasis added. See Au 553–54, 559 and 571–72; CW3 406, 410, 418. Just how ‘embittered’ certain Irish factions remained is evident in their reaction to the award, a matter explored below.

15 CW10 164.

16 The Obscene Publications Act 1857 … provided for the seizure and summary disposition of obscene and pornographic materials. I use the terminology of English case law, following the Hicklin appeal case of 1868 which interpreted the Obscene Publications Act. Regina v. Hicklin involved … [the reselling] of an ‘anti-Catholic pamphlet entitled “The Confessional Unmasked: shewing the depravity of the Romish priesthood, the iniquity of the Confessional, and the questions put to females in confession”’. When the pamphlets were ‘ordered [to be] destroyed as obscene, … [The] court of Quarter Sessions … revoked the order … [holding] that [the reseller’s] purpose had not been to corrupt public morals but to expose problems within the Catholic Church ….[T]he Queen’s Bench, Lord Chief Justice Cockburn presiding, on April 29, 1868, reinstated the order of the lower court, holding that [the reseller’s] intention was immaterial if the publication was obscene in fact. Lord Justice Cockburn reasoned that the Obscene Publications Act allowed banning of a publication if it had a “tendency … to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall”. Hicklin therefore allowed portions of a suspect work to be judged independently of context. If any portion of a work was deemed obscene, the entire work could be outlawed’. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hicklin_test).

17 CL2 378 and ff., 669–80 and passim.

18 Newly recovered letter to Augustin Hamon, 21 Mar 1899, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, first published in Deirdre Toomey, ‘Three letters from Yeats to the Anarchist, Augustin Hamon’, YA20 393.

19 After ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’, a series of articles exposing child prostitution by w. t. Stead in the Pall Mall Gazette, 4–10 July 1885.

20 Cullen 246–82. Cullen’s book is valuable in its mining of Eason & Sons but rarely looks beyond it. On the Limerick Vigilantes, the book-burning of October 1911, and the reaction in the Irish press, particularly among outlets of the Irish Ireland movement, see Philip O’Leary, The Prose Literature of the Irish Revival, 1881–1921: Ideology and Innovation (University Park, p.a.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), Ch. 1, esp. 37 and ff.

21 Our Boys, 4 September 1924, 18.

22 Our Boys, without reference to its financial crisis, claimed the format change was at the request of teachers and pupils, and would facilitate the use of the paper once or twice a week in schools for half-hour supervised reading sessions, which would help to ‘wean the youth of Ireland from the insidious reading’ of ‘Yellow Press publications’, which had played ‘havoc’ with the morality of Irish youth’. A reader from Altnagapple, Co. Donegal, inveighed on the same page against ‘foreign literature, foreign styles, foreign customs’, ‘low disgusting “jazz dance”, “foxtrot”, “one step” and the rest’ and the paper called for the ‘tiger spirit’ to be aroused for ‘true Gaelic ideals of Faith and Fatherland’ against ‘diabolical work’ (11:2, 18 September 1924, [41]).

23 Cullen, 263.

24 See Dáire Keogh, ‘Our Boys, de Valera’s Ireland and the European Crisis, 1932–39’, in Mary Shine Thompson and Valerie Coghlan eds., Divided Worlds: Studies in Children’s Literature (Dublin: Four Courts, 2007), 126–38. Hereafter Keogh. Canice Craven was followed briefly by Br. Stanislaus Gill.

25 See Barry Coldrey, Faith and Fatherland: The Christian Brothers and the Development of Irish Nationalism, 1838–1921 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1988), 254.

26 Ibid. Pearse apparently never forgot this lesson and referred to it in later conversations with other Brothers. Ruth Dudley Edwards claims that Pearse did not himself come from an Irish Ireland background, and thinks that Craven may well have converted Pearse: see her Patrick Pearse: The Triumph of Failure (London: Victor Gollancz, 1977), 14.

27 Despite its tone, ‘p. j. h’s’28 pp. hagiography of Craven recalls recalls his fraças with soldiers training to fight abroad in 1915, his facing down the Black and Tans who raided the offices of Our Boys in 1921. On that occasoion, the British Suxiliaries were confronted by a poster, ‘“Satan, Smiut and Co.”, on the wall’ and ‘met Br. Canice himself at the door with a look as terrible in its righteous indignatoion as that which saved Rome from Attila in the days of Leo the Great’ (453). Craven was sixty-five when he took up the editorship in 1916, after a long and successful career of wringing money out of such donors as Francis Biggar, President of the Gaelic League in Belfast, the St. James’s Gate brewery of Guinness, to support the Brothers (442–43). See The Christian Brothers Educational Record (and Necrology), 1930, 4436–662; also at ftp://intranet.edmundrice.org/necrology/1860-1970/1930/James Canice Craven.pdf. ‘p. j. h’ was Very Rev. Br. p. j. Hennessy, Superior General, Christian Brothers of Ireland.

28 Coldrey, Faith and Fatherland, 127. Turnover went from £798 in 1915–1916 to £7,386 in 1923 (Cullen, 188).

29 Our Boys, 12:6, 26 Mar. 1925, [210]. For Conor Cruise O’Brien, Our Boys was ‘ultra-nationalist, ultra-Catholic and Anglophobic’: see his Ancestral Voices: Religion and Nationalism in Ireland (Dublin: Poolbeg, 1994), 96–97.

30 See also Linda King and Elaine Sisson (eds.), Ireland, Design and Visual Culture: Negotiating Modernity, 1922–1992 (Cork: Cork University Press, School of Creative Arts, iadt, 2011), where an image of this copy illustrates Michael Flanagan, ‘Republic of Virtue: Our Boys, the Campaign against Evil Literature in the Assertion of Catholic Moral Authority in Free State Ireland’, 116–29. Flanagan’s useful essay points to Our Boys imperial rivals, Pluck, Boys of the Empire, British Bulldog, Boys of England.

31 Cullen, 232–36. By March 1927, the paper was being distributed by the Educational Company, having, it seems, narrowly avoided bankruptcy, as feared by Eason & Sons: see Cullen, 236–37.

32 The Our Boys archives (such as they are) have until recently been in the Christian Brothers General Archive in Rome but their repatriation to Ireland is now under way. See also Keogh, 127.

33 Fintan O’Toole has a wonderful little essay on its retrograde effect on his own boyhood in the late 1960s. See ‘Our Boys’ in O’Toole’s The Ex-Isle of Erin (Dublin: New Island Books, 1996), 73–89.

34 A Kerryman from Valentia Island, appointed to the post by the publisher m. h. Gill & Sons, O’Kelly used the nom de plume ‘Sceilg’ (he could see Sceilig Mhichíl from his window as a child in Valentia). O’Kelly had learned his Irish from his father and from newspaper columns by Peadar O’Laoghaire and Douglas Hyde. Closely associated with the IRB, he was a ‘fervent’ adherent of the Irish-language movement. He had helped Fr. Dineen with Foclóir Gaed’ilge agus béarla, An Irish-English Dictionary, had worked for the Gaelic League, and was a founder of Sinn Fein (1905). See the entry on O’Kelly by Brian P. Murphy in James McGuire and James Quinn eds., Dictionary of Irish Biography from the Earliest Times to the Year 2002 (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), vii: 603–08. Hereafter DIB, with volume no.

35 Ibid., vii: 605. The very first number opened with Rev. Patrick Forde’s ‘Catholic Literature’. Its first sentence was ‘Why do bad and dangerous publications find a wide circulation in Ireland?’ (The Catholic Book Bulletin [as it was entitled until its March no.] 1.1, January 1911, 3–5 [3]).

36 Ibid., vii, 607. By August 1917 the Catholic Bulletin had been given precise details of 160 sentences, thus allowing obituaries and/or tributes with photos, a ‘simple record of their lives’ (Catholic Bulletin, 1 April 19817, 201–3. It gave prominence to stories of wives and young children. As Vice-President of Sinn Fein in 1916, O’Kelly was interned in England without trial from February-June 1917, See also J. Newsinger, ‘“I Bring not Peace but a Sword”: The Religious Motif in the Irish War of Independence’, Journal of Contemporary History 13 (1978), 617–18, and Margaret O’Callaghan, ‘Language, Nationality and Cultural Identity in the Irish Free State, 1922–7: The Irish Statesman and the Catholic Bulletin Reappraised’, in Irish Historical Studies 24.94 (November 1984), 226–45.

37 See, e.g., ‘Notes from Rome’, Catholic Bulletin, 1 April 1917, 209–11.

38 O’Kelly continued to oppose the Treaty. In June 1922, he was elected to the Third Dáil for the constituency of Louth/Meath but abstained from taking his seat. In August 1923, standing as a Republican for the Meath constituency, he was defeated for an abstentionist seat in the 4th Dáil. He was again defeated in the Roscommon by-election of 1925, his last election attempt. After the resignation of Éamon de Valera as president of Sinn Féin in 1926, O’Kelly, maintaining his abstentionist policy towards Dáil Éireann, was elected president of Sinn Féin until 1931. He was hostile towards the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, claiming it was insufficiently supportive of Irish Republicanism and that it did not require the President of Ireland to be of Irish birth. A leading opponent of De Valera, he called himself ‘president of Ireland’. See DIB, vii, 603–8.

39 DIB, ii, 848–49.

40 Ibid., i.e., ‘Inis Cealtra’, ‘Conor Malone’ ‘j. a. Moran’, ‘Art Ua Meacair’, ‘Momoniensis’, ‘Dermot Curtin’, ‘Donal MacEgan’ and ‘Molua’, inter alia. See also below 210, n. 173.

41 The Catholic Bulletin had pressed for heightened censorship in large urban areas where consumption of such undesirable material was large and Vigilance Committees less effective. However, eight newsagents in Dublin had signed the pledge: see Cullen 262–63.

42 James Montgomery later wrote: ‘The charges against the cinema today are the same made against it 30 years ago; violation of moral principles, obscenity, corruption of public manners, adult immorality, creation of false notions, warping of character in years of formation, juvenile delinquency. The film industry shows up the world as a hotbed of vice—its people obsessed by sex to the exclusion of everything else’. See Our Boys, 30.2, October 1943, 7.

43 Our Boys recounts the story of how two men (Smith & Wood) came representing commercial interests from the UK and sought out Montgomery and Professor Magennis, allegedly asking them to take commercial films acceptable elsewhere to audiences of up to 120 million. Ireland (3 million) was determined to be ‘different from the rest of the world’. ‘“That”, replied the Professor, “is precisely why we fought your people for so many centuries—because we were determined to be ourselves”’. See ‘Two Bullies from London’, Our Boys, 11, 19 March 1925, 643.

44 See taois 10619a and taois/S 3026 Censorship of Films Act, Irish National Archives, Dublin.

45 To the Editor of Nationality, 18 August [1901], CL InteLex; CL3 108–9. Although the term of office was five years, some served as many as 16 years. Irish National Archives, taois/s 3026, agreed on 9 February 1924 (Min C2/49) under C1.3 of the Censorship of Films Act, 1923 (no. 23 of 1923).

46 The anecdote came to me from Roger Nyle Parisious who had it from Liam O’Laoghaire, later O’Leary, a former Abbey director (he discovered Maureen O’Hara), founder of the Irish Film Society (1936) and a long-time National Film Theatre historian, who was, in his late years, a staple of Irish television. He had deputized in the 1940s for the Film Censor: see Kevin Rockett, Irish Film Censorship: A Cultural Journey from Silent Cinema to Internet Pornography (Dublin: Four Courts, 2004), 73 and n. 57. O’Leary also wrote the definitive life of the silent film director Rex Ingram and was a friend of Leni Reifensthal, the Director of the 1935 epic of the German Olympics, Triumph of the Will. He rented a basement flat belonging to Imogen Stuart. In the Irish State Archives, TAOIS 10619a is a record of appointments to the Film Censorship Appeal Board which would by the way have had to report annually to the Government, and the printed reports are available at the Oireachtas Library and Research Service. In 1939, the Chairman was j. t. O’Farrell who had been member since it was set up in 1924. Other members were Prof. Walter Starkie, Maire Ni Chinneide, Bhean Mhic Ghearailt, Rt Rev Monsignor Cronin, t. c. Murray, Very Re Canon t. w. e. Drury, Myles Keogh, Mrs m. j. McKean, t. f. Figgis. The Chairman, Canon Drury and Maire Ni Chinneide had been members since the Board was set up in 1924, Cronin since 1926, Starkie and Murray since 1933 Mrs McKean and t. f. Figgis since 1938. ‘Yeats and the Early Years of Irish Film Censorship’ might be an absorbing doctoral topic.

47 ‘Many of these journals publish articles on what they call “moral problems”, articles that are far worse in their effects than even the repulsive criminal details which they serve up on other pages. There is ample reason to believe that the Post Office service is being availed of for the purveying of utterly debased books and circulars throughout Ireland’. See The Catholic Bulletin, 13. 3 (March 1923), 131–32.

48 On 26 June 1924 Yeats wrote to Ezra Pound ‘… the seizure of copies of “Ulysses” was not made… according to the Common Law of England. Ireland has no machinery whatever for seizing copies on transit under that law, though of course they are liable to prosecution under the same law as the English. The legal position here is that all English laws apply, unless specially abrogated by our Parliament. No such prosecution has taken place hitherto and “The Irish bookshop” sell[s] copies of the books & puts it in the Window’ (CL InteLex 4574). The Irish Bookshop was in Dawson Street.

49 The Catholic Bulletin, 13.3 (March 1923), 131–32. ‘Not naming’ and periphrasis were, as we shall see, key rhetorical strategies in the campaign of vituperation waged by the Bulletin and Our Boys.

50 ‘Dr Yeats and Mr. Joyce’, The Irish Statesman, 30 August 1924, 790. Trench’s full letter is as follows:
W. B. Yeats, the poet, has for long years made debtors and thralls of the lovers of beauty, by giving them to see life and the world made doubly beautiful by the light that never was on sea or land. J. Joyce rakes hell, and the sewers, for dirt to throw at the fair face of life, and for poison to make beauty shrivel and die. Now, the Dublin aesthete discovers Joyce, and Dr. Yeats undertakes that no citizen of Dublin shall fail to know his name. In season and out of season he has proclaimed him a genius. But be that so, Joyce is a genius. ‘Tis true ‘tis pity. But there have been geniuses who wallowed in the mire before, though whether any quite equally foul-minded, who shall say? Where then shall the lover of the beautiful, the good, the true, be taking his stand, and what shall be his cry? Vain indeed for him to point out that it is time to cry halt to the aesthete’s publicity campaign on behalf of that which is so foul; for it is far too late for this. Vain too, of course, and too late, to plead with the poet to exclude so ugly a topic from public reference. Yet, if at the outset he instead of the aesthete had had the poet’s ear, it may be that all he would have been able to plead would have been quite simply this: that just as the heavenly imagination of the genius drunk with beauty creates that which renders our world loftier and brighter and more glorious, even so the imagination of the genius enamoured of foulness can take away all the radiance, and leave it low, dark, mean, in perpetuity. Just that is what must be occurring. The power of divine poesy to elevate the imagination is annulled by the power of a bestial genius to drag it down; and this is in part the result of the championing of that genius by Dr. Yeats, who (Oh irony!) is Yeats the poet.
This is far from being all that the lover of the beautiful, the good, and the true would wish to say upon the subject; but the range of his human interests is rather too large for recognition or comprehension by the aesthete, with whom the poet has taken his stand: whereas the simple argument ought to appeal to everyone to whom it has been given to share in the port’s vision, for he on honey-dew has fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise. Trench ignores ‘Leda and the Swan’, suggesting that even by late August,
To-Morrow had not reached the SCR of Trinity College. Much else in Ch. V is, however, inaccurate. Dr John Henry Bernard’s letter to Bro. Craven of April, 1925, is not reproduced in Our Boys, and Joyce was not a contributor to Tomorrow, the ‘nastiest publication’.

51 Fr. r. s. Devane, s. j., on ‘Indecent Literature: Some Legal Remedies’ in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 25 February 1925, 182–204 (197 and n. 1–198). Devane urged readers of The Irish Statesman to procure the October 1924–January 1925 issues of the Catholic Bulletin (see, e.g., 14:10 Oct. 1924, 837; 14:11, 929–31; 14:12, 1019–22 on the ‘gross public scandal’ of Yeats’s and Robinson’s contributions to To-morrow; 15:1 January 1925, 1–6 on the ‘Sewage School’, the ‘Cloacal Combine, and Archbishop t. p. Gilmartin’s resignation from the Irish Advisory Committee of the Carnegie Trust. See below 170, n. 102.

52 Thus Coleridge on the excesses of Sir Thomas Browne’s Vulgar Errors, i.e., Pseudodoxia Epidemica: see Henry Nelson Coleridge’s edition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Literary Remains (London: William Pickering, 1836), Vol. 2, 413. The qualification is in a note of praise for Browne, dated 10 March 1804.

53 Pears purchased the copyright of Giovanni Focardi’s most famous statue named You dirty boy! and exhibited at the Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1878. The firm then produced copies as advertisements for their soap products on shop counter displays in terracotta, plaster, and metal. See https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20448/lot/807/. In 1906, Pears changed its advertising, basing it thereafter on ‘Bubbles’ by Sir John Everett Millais (1886).

54 See ‘“Stitching and Unstitching”’, op. cit., pp. 145–46.

55 Yeats became so apprehensive about the threat of clerical malice from the Archdiocese of Tuam that on 16 January [1926] he wrote to T. Werner Laurie,
I see by some paragraph in a London paper that a ‘Vision’ is out or all but out. What are you doing about review copies in Ireland? I think there is only one Irish paper worth sending the book to—‘The Irish Statesman’. If you send there it will be reviewed by A. E. Dont send to ‘Irish Independent’ ‘Irish Studies’ or ‘The Dublin Review’ if you can avoid it. The Bishop of Tuam (Catholic) said to an acquaintance of mine the other day ‘we have been waiting for years to get a chance at Mr Yeats but we are going to get it now. He is bringing out a book that will give us our chance’. If they break out it will not help you & it will exasperate me. Their habit is to take an isolated sentence, & go on repeating it for years. ‘The Irish Times’ would be sympathetic but useless. A review in ‘The Irish Statesman’ would be sufficient to inform the Irish reading public that the book exists & what its nature is. Even that will be cautious. Let me know what you are doing in this matter. I await the book with some excitement as I dont know whether I am a goose that has hatched a swan or a swan that has hatched a goose’. (
CL InteLex 4822). See below, 155, n. 71.

56 By 16 October, under the banner ‘The Yellow Press must Go’, the paper demanded that ‘Gutter literature … disappear’. The ‘sale of moral filth’ was bound to ‘destroy the national Virtue, and thus lead people into National Apostasy’. ‘[I]nnocent children’ were buying ‘books and papers preaching a code of morals coming not from our Penny Catechism, not from Mount Sinai, not from the Sermon on the Mount, but from the dens of Paris and London’ ([121]). The Freeman’s Journal approved of this policy (18 October 1924).

57 70 copies of Pears’ Annual would have cost £3.10.0 of this sum.

58 Catholic Herald, 19 January 1925, 4. On ‘not naming’, see above 142, n. 49.

59 ‘The Angelic Warfare’, Our Boys, 11. 1, 5 February 1925, 524.

60 Geoffrey Williams and Ronald Searle, Down with Skool! (London: Max Parrish, 1953); Richmal Crompton’s Just William (London: George Newnes, [1922]); Clive James, Unreliable Memoirs (London: Jonathan Cape, 1980).

61 Our Boys, 11. 12, 19 February 1925, [537].

62 Our Boys, 20 April 1925, 708–9.

63 See, e.g., Our Boys, 3 February 1927, 297 in ‘keep[ing] back the filthy tide’ of foreign journals with a black-list, a phrase reused 9 June 1927, 659, claiming that £540,000 per year was spent on ‘publications causing moral deformity among … children’ in reply to a letter from Pope Pius XI through Cardinal Gasparri, Vatican Secretary of State, 9 May 1927 praising the paper’s ‘laudable efforts to impede the circulation of evil literature’ (658).

64 See Our Boys, 4 September 1924, 18.

65 Published as ‘Romance in Ireland’ in The Irish Times, 8 September 1913, 7.

66 Thomas MacDonagh’s ‘The Man Upright’; printed in the Irish Review of June 1911: see The Poetical Works of Thomas MacDonagh intro. James Stephens (Dublin: The Talbot Press, n.d., i.e., 1916), 124 and ff., and Life 1 494, n. 4 and 620. In The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland (London: Allen Lane, the Penguin Press, 2010), 12 and 240, n. 40), Roy Foster cites Standish O’Grady’s depiction of Cuculain’s becoming ‘dejected’ when window-shopping in Dublin, when ‘he looked upon the people, so small were they, and so pale and ignoble, both in appearance and behaviour; and also when he saw the extreme poverty of the poor, and the hungry eager crowds seeking what he knew not’ (History of Ireland: Heroic Period [London: Sampson Low etc. 1878–1881]), II, 291–92). At a presentation of this paper on 7 December 2017, Foster wondered if either Yeats or Macdonagh’s poems showed the influence of this passage. O’Grady clearly borrows the puzzlement of the 300 year old Oisin on his return to an Ireland subjugated by Christianity from Bryan O’Looney’s ‘The Lay of Oisin in the Land of Youth’, Transactions of the Ossianic Society, IV, 1856 (Dublin 1859),. In Yeats’s case (i.e., for the passage quoted above) In Yeats’s case, the answer is found in his source, also O’Looney’s poem. It seems to me that Macdonagh, too, qua poet, draws upon O’Looney, but via Yeats.

67 The speech was before a performance of The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet at the Court Theatre at 3.00 pm on 14 July. ‘I made a good speech on Monday. I spoke with [Sir Hugh Lane] quite as much as the possible subscribers [to Lane’s Gallery] in my mind. I described Ireland if the present movement failed as “a little huckstering nation groping for halfpence in a greasy till” but did not add except in thought “by the light of a holy candle”’. See letter to Lady Gregory, 16 July [1913] (CL InteLex 2214). The passage may be found in Mr. Shaw’s Censored Play’ the report in The Pall Mall Gazette of the performance and talk, 15 July 1913. Yeats is reported as having made ‘an earnest appeal for the project, which was to help Ireland fulfil its own ideals instead of becoming a little huckstering nation groping of halfpennies in a greasy till’ (7). Roy Foster wonders in a private message to me if there is antisemitism here, but the antisemitism of Irish Ireland was open: press advertisements fir Dublin businesses could boast openly ‘no connection with the Jews’, and Macdonagh’s poem has no such overt prejudice. Yeats was a lifelong opponent of antisemitism: the Dreyfus case divided sharply from Maud Gonne and his ‘holy candle and his ton[ing] down suggest he was at pains to avoid reversing Irish Ireland contempt for Protestants.

68 CL InteLex 2235.

69 VP 289–90. Few MSS of ‘September, 1913’ survive, and none before a pretty fair copy of August 1913 which brings the first four lines to very near their form in The Irish Times, 8 September 1913 (7) version. At the bottom of this MS, evidently sent to Lady Gregory and pasted in to her copy of Vol IV of CWVP now in the Berg Collection, NYPL, Yeats has added a note. ‘I made this poem out of a contemplation of Mr. William Murphy. I have as you see changed the line about the tallow’. See Responsibilities: Manuscript Materials, ed. by William H. O’Donnell (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2003), 232–34, where the editor has evidently had difficulty in reading the last two words.

70 Quoted in Desmond Ryan, The 1916 Poets (Dublin: A. Figgis, 1963), 1.

71 Catholic Bulletin, 13:12, Dec. 1923, 817–19. Agreement had been reached in principle with T. Werner Laurie for what became A Vision (1925, actually 1926) by 12 October 1923 (T. Werner Laurie to a. p. Watt, 12 October 1923, CL InteLex, 4380). By 20 April 1924 Laurie was circulating a prospectus (CL InteLex 4523). The Catholic Bulletin’s source is untraced, but it is clear it tracked newspaper cuttings on Yeats with a captious tenacity. After AE did review it in the Statesman review on 13 February 1926 (714–16), the Bulletin quoted from it extensively in its editorial in March (16:3, 250–52, after an attack on O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, but then every month involved an attack on Yeats and his school. By May, Gogarty, the ‘Liffey Lyrist’ has become ‘literary Sancho Panza’ to Yeats who, in June, is the ‘Oratory in Ordinary, promoter of Loquacity’ (16:6, 572).

72 Catholic Bulletin, 14:1, January 1924, 6–7. The ‘heavier’ purse of course tilts at ‘The Grey Rock’s praise of the Rhymers who ‘never made a poorer song | That you might have a heavier purse’ (VP 273.) The Nobel Prize award remained contentious. Edmund Gosse’s sour notice of The Bounty of Sweden (Cuala: 1925): Gosse’s ‘A Poet’s Thanks’ had appeared in the London Sunday Times, 26 July 1925 (6), attacking first Alfred Nobel, speculating that he had endowed his prizes including the one for ‘idealistic literature’ to atone for his ‘dynamites and cordites’ his ‘horrible nitroglycerines and gun-cottons’. In turning to Yeats—Gosse had supported Hardy for the award in the same year—Gosse numbered him among ‘passionate men who were like bats in dead trees’ who had ‘recovered the Eternal Rose of Beauty and of Peace after receiving [the Nobel Prize]’ c.f., VP 136, l. 5. AE then protested anonymously in The Irish Statesman, 1 August 1925, 645. The Bulletin rather lost its way amid fanciful variations upon Gosse’s abuse: whilst recycling the story about Yeats, Robert Smyllie of The Irish Times, the news of the award, the empty cellar, the sausages, it roundly endorsed Gosse’s view that WBY was ‘an English Poet, resident in Ireland, and writing in English, just as Swift and Berkeley and Burke had written when they were resident in Ireland’ (15:9, September 1925, 857).

73 This principle is a common-place of Classical Rhetoric: see Aristotle, Rhetoric 1404b. Thomas Wilson enjoins ‘never affect any strange inkhorn terms but so speak as is commonly received, neither seeking to be overfine, nor yet living overcareless, using our speech as most men do, and ordering our wits as the fewest have done’. See his The Art of Rhetoric (1560), ed. by Peter E. Medine (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), 188. The precept is also found in Rhetorica ad Herennium; Incerti Auctoris De Ratione Dicendi Ad C. Herennium Libri IV, ed. by F. Marx, Leipzig 1964. i.e., that diction should be usitata and propria (‘current’ and ‘proper’) (4, 17). These ideas came to Yeats via Roger Ascham’s Toxophilus (1545), as noted c. 6 May 1923 in Lady Gregory’s Journals: ‘Ascham says: “He that will wryte well in any tongue, must follow this council of Aristotle, to speak as the common people do; to think as wise men do”’. See Lady Gregory’s Journals Volume 1, Books 1–29, 30 October 1910–1924 February 1925, ed. by Daniel J. Murphy (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1978), 450. See Roger Ascham, Toxophilus etc. (1545), ed. with notes and commentary by Peter E. Medine (Tempe, Arizona: Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2002), 40, lines 34–36 (note, p. 144) offers ‘He that will wryte well in any tongue, must follow this councel of Aristotle, to speke as the common people do; to think as wise men do: and so should every man vnderstande hym …’. For Ascham in a modern spelling edition, see, e.g., Toxophilus; The School of Shooting, in Two Books, rptd. from the edition of Rev. Dr Giles (London: John Russell Smith, 1866), Preface (7). Yeats cites this catch-phrase throughout his later works, usually reversing its order and usually citing the authority of Aristotle. e.g., CW3 296 and 492–93, n. 21, which identifies Ascham from Lady Gregory’s Journals, but looks no further to find the source in Ascham), 325; Au 395, 440; Ex 371; VPl 567; CW10 28; UP2 494; CW12 193. The most accurate of these does not, however reverse the order of the constituent phrases, and is to be found in the Preface to the translation WBY did with Shri Purohit Swami of The Ten Principal Upanishads: ‘“To write well”, said Aristotle, “express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man”, a favourite quotation of Lady Gregory’s—I quote her diary from memory’. (CW5, 172; fn. 6 cites Book III of Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric generally on ‘appropriate diction’ but admits not finding Lady Gregory’s ‘specific reference’). By the time of ‘The Great Blasket’ (1933) the rhetorical principle had become an ethical imperative: ‘To Lady Gregory and to Synge it was more than speech, for it implied an attitude towards letters, sometimes even towards life, an attitude Lady Gregory was accustomed to define by a quotation from Aristotle: “To think like a wise man but to express oneself like the common people”’. (CW10 248). ‘Aristotle bids us think like wise men but express ourselves like the common people, but what if genius and a great vested interest thrive upon the degradation of the mother tongue?’, Yeats and Dorothy Wellesley challenge, in ‘Music and Poetry’ the prefaces to Broadsides: A Collection of New Irish and English Songs (1937): see CW12 193.

74 The jeer comes in The Catholic Bulletin’s editorial against Yeats’s ‘no petty people’ Divorce speech in the Irish Seanad (15:7, July 1925, 641–2).

75 DIB 2:849.

76 The Catholic Bulletin, 14:6, June 1925, 459–61.

77 The Catholic Bulletin 15:1, January 1925, 1–5. The running battle with The Irish Statesman is the Bulletin’s background theme: Plunkett House being the ‘Harmonious Homestead’: see ibid. and 101 and ff. On the ‘Sewage School’ see further 196 and ff.

78 Ibid., 4, and 15:3 March 1925, 196 and ff., more on the ‘Sewage School’, esp. 198 re ‘Absquatulation’; 15:4 April 1925, 291 and ff. to 294 re ‘An Undelivered Speech’ on Divorce; almost every issue thereafter continues the running battles with The Irish Statesman and its ‘Magniloquent Mahatmas and fuglemen’; English Catholic and other periodicals on the issues of Divorce, decadent upper class life, the award of the Nobel Prize and Gosse’s imprecations against Yeats, ‘evil literature’, the Tailteann Games and the roles of Yeats and Gogarty: see, e.g., 15:6, June 1925, 536 and ff.; 15:7, July 1925, 641 and ff.; 15:8, August 1925 759 and ff.; 15:9 September 1925 c. 854–55, yet more on Gosse’s reaction to Yeats’s Nobel Prize; 15:10, September 1925, 962–65, on Yeats’s Divorce speech; 15:11, November 1925, 1082–88 on Yeats and Gruntvig Schools in Denmark. See also Devane, op. cit., 197.

79 From ‘A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire’ (1693.)

80 English Catholics, Corcoran thought, were hardly Catholics at all (notably for their failure to establish an independent Catholic university; Corcoran believed Catholics should be forbidden to attend Oxford and Cambridge).

81 CL InteLex 4570, 21.

82 Irish Statesman 28 June1924, 507. The business manager (i.e., for subscriptions) was ‘Mr Cecil Salkeld, 13 Fleet St Dublin’, ibid. On Cecil Ffrench Salkeld, see DIB 8, 751–52. He had studied under Sean Keating at the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin.

83 If its references to the ‘Blessed Virgin’ were put into Latin, they evidently failed to fool the Dublin printer, Maunsell. Both issues of the paper were printed by Whitely & Wright Ltd., of 30, Blackfriars St., Manchester (To-Morrow I: 1, August 1924, 8)

84 ‘France & America & to a less degree England have a number of reviews, managed by young people, ready to follow any lead & they would probably follow this lead’ (CL InteLex, 28 June [1924], no. 4578). On the Catholic Bulletin’s response, see 14:11 November 1924, 129–31.

85 George Yeats had told Lady Gregory by 15 July that ‘the Talbot Press had already refused to print it in his book of short stories; then he sent it to the Nation which refused it because it was indecent and dealt with rape’. See Journals 1, 563, 15 July 1924. See also Lennox Robinson, Curtain Up: An Autobiography (London: Michael Joseph, 1942), 135–36.

86 VP 441 vv. The Cat and the Moon had been published on 1 May 1924.

87 Cf., NC 247 where Jeffares suggests AE. While The Irish Statesman is seemingly more of a ‘a political review’ than To-Morrow, it is evident that Yeats was so intimately involved in the planning of the latter that it is inconceivable that Stuart is not the editor involved here.

88 Catholic Bulletin, 14: November 1924, 930–31.

89 CL InteLex 4586, 5 July [1924].

90 Writing thus to Pound (CL InteLex 4586) was one of several attempts to spread this message.

91 YMM 322. See UP2, 438, which mistakenly claims that it was Mrs Yeats, not Iseult Stuart, who told Richard Ellmann, cf. Ellmann’s Yeats: The Man and the Masks (London: Macmillan, 1949), 249–51, 322; followed by Wade 382. Ellmann also wrote: ‘he persuaded Lennox Robinson, Stuart, and some others, to publish a magazine called “Tomorrow”—only 2 issues appeared, one containing a story by Robinson about a peasant girl who has a child and claims it’s a miracle. The Archbishops of Dublin (Catholic and Protestant) both denounced it as an effete product. Yeats wrote the editorials, but didn’t sign them’ (YA16 308). While programmatic self-allusions are everywhere to be found in Yeats’s prose and verse, the Yeatsian phrases in this piece amount to unacknowledged quotations. The relation between the immortal soul and ‘the imperishable substance of the stars’ had been explored first in Rosa Alchemica (VSR 126, 129; Myth 2005 177–79, VPl 691). ‘To all Artists and Writers’ is not admitted to Later Articles and Reviews (CW10).

92 Cf., Yeats’s lines from ‘Michael Robartes and the Dancer’:
While Michael Angelo’s Sistine roof,
His ‘Morning’ and his ‘Night’ disclose
How sinew that has been pulled tight,
Or it may be loosened in repose,
Can rule by supernatural right
Yet be but sinew. (
VP 386)

93 The quotation is from Plate 77 of William Blake’s Jerusalem. See WWB3, or any modern edition, e.g., that of David V. Erdman ed., The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake, Newly Revised Edition (New York: Random House, 1988), 231, 32. ‘is the Holy Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain?’ became one of Yeats’s catch-phrases: see CW4 60, 101; E&I 78, 136, CW9 303; UP1 40.

94 To-Morrow, 1:1, August 1924, 4.

95 On the embedded quotations from Yeats’s work, see above 165-66, nn. 91 and 92.

96 Catholic Bulletin XVI, 3 March 1926, 248

97 According to Lady Gregory (Journals 1, 563).

98 Irish Statesman 12 July 1924, 555.

99 Journals 1, 563. Cecil Salkeld, who was given to painting pictures based on Yeats’s poems (see below 312-13) painted a celebrated ‘Leda and the Swan, with the burning tower of besieged Troy in the background: see http://www.artnet.com/artists/cecil-french-salkeld/leda-and-the-swan-3YU89e5qv_7aRLuTozdJ8g2

100 As Ellmann indicated (YA16 308), the story was particularly disliked by Dr John Henry Bernard (1867–1927, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, 1915–1919, Provost of Trinity College, 1919–1927). Yeats had found him ‘a charming and intelligent man, but with the too ingratiating manner of certain highly educated Catholic priests, a manner one does not think compatible with deep spiritual experience’ (Mem 146).

101 CL InteLex 4663, 23 October 1924.

102 See The Connaught Tribune 19 December 1924., quoted in the Catholic Bulletin 15; 1, January 1925, 2, an editorial which reviews the impact of the To-morrow affair on the Irish Carnegie Libraries. See also above 144, n. 51.

103 See a. e.’s sombre ‘Notes and Comments’, ‘The old Sinn Fein movement … came to power because truly new ideas were associated with it. … In half a dozen directions pioneers of new ideas were winning adherents’ (The Irish Statesman 2:13, 7 June 1924, 387). Because they pre-date the To-Morrow affair, they are prescient.

104 Geoffrey Elborn, Francis Stuart: A Life (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1990), 67 is very inaccurate about what is in Robinson’s story, but notes that George Yeats thought ‘Leda and the Swan’ would be thought ‘horribly indecent because of its association in print with the story’. Lady Gregory thought the story was an attempt to ‘pervert the nation’, ibid. Bernard McKenna develops a similar point: see his ‘Yeats, “Leda”, and the Aesthetics of To-Morrow’ (New Hibernia Review 13.2 (Summer 2009), 16–35) at 25 and ff.

105 See above 145, n. 55, and Irish Statesman, 11 June 1925, CW10 186 and ff.

106 Cf., VP 129–30.

107 The galleys were returned corrected to a. p. Watt & Son, who wrote to Macmillan & Co. on 28 October 1924: ‘I have just received from Mr. w. b. Yeats, and have pleasure in handing you herewith corrected proofs, slips 57–144 of “EARLY POEMS AND STORIES”. I shall be glad if, at your convenience, you will kindly acknowledge their safe receipt’ (CL InteLex 4666). The revision, I suggest, happened between 23 and 28 October, the former being the date of Yeats’s letter to Lennox Robinson quoted above.

108 TO SOME SPITEFUL PERSONS
Your Envy pleases me and serves
My fame by all your muttering talk,
Just as the starling stock that swerves
With shrieks aside, and shows the hawk.
Men will lift up the head to stare,
Although it never stoop to strike,
At that still pinion stretched on air,
When all such chattering fills the dyke.
See A. Norman Jeffares coll., ed., and intro.,
The Poems & Plays of Oliver St. John Gogarty (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 2001), 253. The poem had been collected in Wild Apples (Dublin: Cuala, 1928), 24 and in the revised Wild Apples with Preface by William Butler Yeats (Dublin: Cuala, 1930), 11. This poem probably alludes to Tamara’s words in Titus Andronicus 4, iv.84–90:
King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy name.
Is the sun dimm’d, that gnats do fly in it?
The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
And is not careful what they mean thereby,
Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
He can at pleasure stint their melody:
Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.

109 VP 351, 256.

110 The line had formerly read—to Poems (1924)—‘The sad bells bow the forehead on the hands’, was changed on the galley to ‘And sad bells bow the forehead on the hand’. From The Irish Statesman version onwards, it became ‘And yet the saddest chimes are best enjoyed’. (VP 130v.)

111 ‘He says he is sending his emended Cradle Song for its next number. I say it is time for a baby to appear after all the preliminary preparations’. See Journals 1, 598–99.

112 Even as the first version had been published, he had sought reassurance from the loyal Katharine Tynan (CL1 247). Later, Yeats frequently comments in successive revisions of Poems (1895) that certain lines and poems had never seemed to him satisfactory, and reading proof of major new editions repeatedly offered necessary opportunities to ‘cut[] out the dead wood’. (VP 845–49 at 848).

113 The galley proofs of slips 63–64 (later pp. 126–29 of the published book) survive in the Berg Collection, nypl, and may be consulted in w. b. Yeats, The Early Poetry: Volume II: ‘The Wanderings of Oisin’ and Other Early Poems to 1895: Manuscript Materials, ed. by George Bornstein (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. 298–99. For an extended discussion of these matters see Warwick Gould, ‘“Stitching and Unstitching”: Yeats, Bibliographical Opportunity, and the Life of the Text’, in Brian G. Caraher and Robert Mahony (eds.), Ireland and Transatlantic Poetics: Essays in Honour of Denis Donoghue (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), 129–55. Hereafter, Gould, ‘“Stitching”’.

114 VP 393–94.

115 VPl 671; j. m. Synge, Collected Works, 3, Plays Book 1, ed. by Ann Saddlemyer (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe Ltd.; Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1968), 113; E&I 309; CW4 224; Journals 1, 579. Years ago, an old boatman took me to Innisfree in wild weather, warning ‘You’ ll be destroyed of the spray’.

116 See Gould, ‘“Stitching and Unstitching”’, 129 et. seq., and pl. 1, 13. A larger version of the galley proof image can be found in w. b. Yeats: The Early Poetry Volume II: ‘The Wanderings of Oisin’ and Other Early Poems to 1895 Manuscript Materials, ed. by George Bornstein (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993), 298–99.

117 CL InteLex 4670 [7 November 1924] Russell, of course, given half the chance, would have set the 1891 version from memory. Yeats was quite open that ‘[between us existed from the beginning the antagonism that unites dear friends’ (CW113).

118 While some lines stood in all future versions through other changes (VP 129–30). On 1 December 1924, Watt sent ‘corrected proofs of “early poems and stories” by Mr. w. b. Yeats (pp. 17–80 and 161–224)’ to Macmillan. CL InteLex 4682.

119 See Gould, ‘“Stitching”’, 129–55.

120 See George Bornstein, ‘What is the Text of a Poem by Yeats?’, in Bornstein and Ralph G. Williams (eds.), Palimpsest: Editorial Theory in the Humanities (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 167–93 at 174–76, esp. 175. Pound’s role in all this is to be found in his ‘Romancing the (Native) Stone: Yeats, Stevens and the Anglocentric Canon’, in Gene W. Ruoff ed., The Romantics and Us (New Brunswick and London: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 108–29 where Bornstein quotes Pound in order to assert (improbably) that Pound’s assistance was required for Yeats to ‘de-Anglicize’ his own Romanticism:—‘The new diction and syntax replaced the derivative, strongly English patterns of fin-de-siècle verse which we now associate with modernism. Ezra Pound described the pre-modern, turn of the century poetry this way: “The common verse of Britain from 1890 to 1901 was a horrible agglomerate compost, not minted, most of it not even baked, all legato, a doughy mess of third-hand Keats, Wordsworth, heaven knows what, fourth-hand Elizabethan sonority blunted, half melted, lumpy” (Literary Essays 205). In the present context, I emphasize that the modernist patterns replacing those described by Ezra Pound are predominantly Irish and American rather than British—the patterns of Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Frost, Williams, and Stevens. They help account for why the diverse language of literary modernism appeals so strongly to English-language poets around the world today: it has already de-centered England and prepared the ground for further such enterprises …. In Yeats’s case, the new way he wrote poetry enabled him to renegotiate the relation between Ireland and England in his poetry, and to de-Anglicize his own romanticism’. (117). Pound’s comment on the ‘common verse’ is pointedly not about the diction of Yeats or the other Rhymers, of whom Pound was very much in awe. An Irish nationalist schooled in the 19th Irish poetic tradition, a member of the old i. r. b., a physical force movement since around February 1886, Yeats did not have to wait until Ezra Pound happened along to ‘de-Anglicize’ himself.

121 Yeats wrote to Lady Gregory on 3 January 1913 ‘… my digestion has got rather queer again—a result I think of sitting up late with Ezra & Sturge Moore & some light wine while the talk ran. However the criticism I have got from them has given me new life & I have made that Tara poem a new thing & am writing with a new confidence having got Milton off my back. Ezra is the best critic of the two. He is full of the middle ages & helps me to get back to the definite & the concrete away from modern abstractions. To talk over a poem with him is like getting you to put a sentence into dialect. All becomes clear & natural. Yet in his own work he is very uncertain, often very bad though very interesting sometimes. He spoils himself by too many experiments & has more sound principles than taste’ (CL InteLex 2053).

122 ‘Life turned into something else’ in The Guardian, 2 May 2015, Review, 2–3. When Barnes collected the piece (see above 123–24, n. 2) he revealed that although his original preference for Modernist art had been confirmed by this exhibition of pre-Modernist works, he was gratified at last to understand the ‘noble necessity of Modernism’ for the first time and from, as it were, the bottom up. See Barnes’s Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art, 7–8.

123 ‘The imposed view, however innocent, always obscures’, Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape (1986), 176. It is salutary to be reminded that ‘Modernism’ is a casual currency of our day, and was not thus to the writers upon whose lives and work it is retrospectively imposed. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Celestial Railroad’, sets a high standard for an oppressive ‘ism’ of his day, personified as ‘Giant Transcendentalist’ and ‘German by birth’. ‘[A] s to his form, his features, his substance, and his nature generally, it is the chief peculiarity of this huge miscreant that neither he for himself, nor anybody for him, has ever been able to describe them. [He looks] somewhat like an ill-proportioned figure, but considerably more like a heap of fog and duskiness. He shouted after us, but in so strange a phraseology that we knew not what he meant, nor whether to be encouraged or affrighted’. Nathaniel Hawthorne, ‘The Celestial Railroad’ (1843) in his Mosses from an Old Manse. See the Centenary Edition of Hawthorne’s Works 10 1974), 186–207 at 197. John Harwood’s Eliot to Derrida: The Poverty of Interpretation (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995) provides the best guide to the woeful effects of concepts such as Modernism as a pedagogic mode at tertiary level. Roy Foster rousingly deplores the postcolonial ‘interventions of refugees from post-post-structuralist university departments of English or sociology’ and those from ‘born-again newly Irish Eng. Lit. academics’ into such areas as the Irish Famine: see his ‘Theme-parks and Histories’, in his The Story of Ireland: Telling Tales and Making it up in Ireland (London: Allen Lane, the Penguin Press, 2010), 23–36 at 28–30.

124 See Lawrence Lipking, ‘Comparative Reading’, The New Republic, 2 October 1989, 28–35.

125 Such is the perspective available to those who read ‘vertically’, alive to these occluded, or acroamatic, connexions between the new and the abandoned.

126 Mem 152. See also Warwick Gould, ‘The Mask before The Mask’ (YA19 3–47).

127 See ‘Books burn as Goebbels speaks’ (with historic film footage) at http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_fi.php?ModuleId=10005852&MediaId=158

128 See CW10, 198 and above, 124.

129 See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pears_(soap)

130 See above 125, n. 5 and CW10 198. I remain grateful to Christian Bros. archivists in Rome and Dublin who have yet to unearth a copy.

131 In The Bookman, October 1895 Yeats had recommended that The Religious Songs of Connaught ‘be added (as soon as it is reprinted from the Irish magazine in which it is now appearing)’ to Hyde’s Love Songs of Connacht as one of his ‘Best Irish Books’: see ‘Irish National Literature, IV: A List of the Best Irish Books’, UP1 387; CW9 292.

132 In ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’, CW10 199.

133 Yeats’s scorn for Craven’s ignorance suggests some scholarship of his own on the group of poems that make up the various composite versions of the Cherry Tree Carol. Apart from Hyde’s version there were, e.g., William Hone (1823), Ancient Mysteries Described, especially the English Mystery Plays, founded on the Apocryphal New Testament Story, extant in the Unpublished Manuscripts in the British Museum etc. (London: printed for William Hone, 1823), 90–93; William Sandys, Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern, including The most popular in the West of England and the airs to which they are sung also specimens of French Provincial Carols with an Introduction and Notes. (London: Richard Beckley, 1833). Second Part, 123–5 and App. 10; Francis James Child ed., The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vol. II, Part 1. (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1885, 1886), no. 54 (1–6); a. h. Bullen’s A Christmas Garland Carols And Poems From The Fifteenth Century To The Present Time (London: John C. Nimmo, 1887), 29–32; The Oxford Book of Ballads, chosen and ed. by Arthur Quiller-Couch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1910), no. 101 (431–33). Sharp had collated his version from two separate encounters in Gloucestershire in 1909, with a Mrs Mary Anne Clayton of Chipping-Camden and a Mary Anne Roberts of Winchcombe. See http://www.gloschristmas.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/C02_SingPDF_CherryTreeCarol_Doc.pdf

134 See Rev R. S. Devane SJ, ‘Indecent Literature: Some Legal Remedies’ (loc. cit., above 144, n. 51). The article seems to have been co-ordinated with the February 1925 publicity in Our Boys for the burning of ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’ on 16 Jan. Devane rehearses the history of the Vigilance movement since the action in Limerick in 1911, as well as the rise of vigilantism in Tuam. After surveying international action at the League of Nations, he concludes: ‘Unfortunately the term “obscene” is equivocal and has different meanings and equivalents …. It is incumbent on the Irish Free State to define “obscenity”, because in the first place, we must break with old traditions in this matter and make things fit in with Irish ideals of decency and morality, and also because in English law which obtains in Ireland “indecent” and “obscene” are so nebulous and ill-defined that some of the most experienced English public servants and others, as we shall see, have striven to get the British parliament to define them more exactly and have failed …. However we may differ in our political opinions today, and however bitter the feelings that have arisen in recent times may be, I think we may truthfully say, that Republican and Free Stater, Capitalist and Worker, Protestant and Catholic, would all rejoice in the re-definition of “indecency” or “obscenity”, thereby setting up “as high a standard as possible” and so giving a moral lead to other nations’. (188–90).

135 See Louis Cullen (op. cit.), 262. The membership of the Committee included Prof. William Thrift (tcd) Thomas O’Donnell t.d. (Labour, Galway); Very Rev. James Dempsey; Rev. J. Sinclair Stevenson, Prof Robert Donovan (ucd).

136 To judge by its absence from comprehensive ‘Evil Literature’ records of the Irish State Archives.

137 Ibid., The Committee reported on 28 December 1926. It recommended ‘a new definition of the terms [indecent and obscene] so as to include not only what was grossly “indecent” and “obscene”, but what was generally demoralising and offensive in sexual matters to the moral idea of the community generally’ (262–63). It recommended ‘a scheme of prevention, rather than application of the criminal law’ since the problem was mainly with imported publications. A new permanent committee of nine to twelve representative persons ‘with advisory powers so that Minister could proscribe offending periodicals’ was recommended. One of the offences was the advocacy of birth control in all its forms (264).

138 The perpetrators were known, but never stood trial.

139 ‘A terrible responsibility has been thrust upon me. I merely rose to say that I thought I could comfort the mind of the Senator who proposed this amendment. Artists and writers for a very long time have been troubled at intervals by their work. I remember John Synge and myself both being considerably troubled when a man, who had drowned himself in the Liffey, was taken from the river. He had in his pocket a copy of Synge’s play, ‘Riders to the Sea’, which, you may remember, dealt with a drowned man. We know, of course, that Goethe was greatly troubled when a man was taken from the river, having drowned himself. The man had in his pocket a copy of ‘Werther’, which is also about a man who had drowned himself. It has again and again cropped up in the world that the arts do appeal to our imitative faculties. We comfort ourselves in the way Goethe comforted himself, that there must have been other men saved from suicide by having read ‘Werther’. We see only the evil effect, greatly exaggerated in the papers, of these rather inferior forms of art which we are now discussing, but we have no means of reducing to statistics their other effects. I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the general conscience of mankind. [I, 1147–48]’ (SS 52).

140 In ‘Compulsory Gaelic’ he was to fight to keep open Ulster’s eventual union in a United Ireland: see Irish Statesman 14 March 1925; CW10 168–77. See Lady Gregory’s Journals 1, 25 July, 568.

141 When finally published in The Dial, February 1926, ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ contained a note by Yeats: ‘The Irish periodical which has hitherto published my occasional comments on Irish events explained that this essay would endanger its existence’. See CW10 383, n. 318. On the Catholic Bulletin’s response, see below 208–11.

142 ‘Current Topics’, The Leader, 21 February 1925, 56–57. The Leader even averred that Yeats was not an Irishman but an Englishman in all but ‘an accident of birth’, thus taking up the very criticism of The Catholic Bulletin after Gosse’s attack (see above, 156, n. 72).

143 New Criterion 4:2, April 1926: see Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden, The Letters of t. s. Eliot Vol 3 1926–1927 (London: Faber & Faber, 2012), 78 for Eliot’s letter acknowledging receipt of the TS entitled ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’ from a. p. Watt & Sons, 15 February 1916. The subsequent change of title may have been by Eliot himself, but no correspondence e.g., with Yeats) survives on the subject. The printing also contained Yeats’s explanatory note about why it was not being published in the Irish Statesman.

144 See also Catherine E. Paul, ‘w. b. Yeats and the Problem of Belief’, below 295–311.

145 Yeats also cites here the cry of Ruysbroeck: ‘I must rejoice without ceasing, even if the world shudder at my joy’. Yeats took this from the epigraph to j. k. Huysmans’ À Rebours (Paris: Bibliothèeque Charpentier, 1884, 1891) ‘Il faut que je me réjouisse au dessus du temps … quoíque le mônde ait horreur de ma joie, et que sa grossièreté ne sache pas ce que je veux dire’. Huysmans’source is the opening words of Jan van Ruysbroeck’s second canticle, ‘Il faut que je me réjouisse au-dessus du temps, quoique le monde ait horreur de ma joie, et que sa grossièreté ne sache par ce que je veux dire’ as found in Ernest Hello’s Rusbrock L’Admirable (Paris, 1869), 283.

146 All of these quotations are taken from ‘The Need for Audacity of Thought’, CW10 199–200.

147 The Catholic Bulletin, eventually however, did, and, for the moment, saved its powder. See below, 208–10.

148 Information from Anna White to Deirdre Toomey.

149 Plato and Descartes [in the 17th c.] had ‘considered the soul as a substance completely distinct from the body’. [‘L]ike a pilot at the helm’ it could ‘control the movements of the whole organism’. Plato had placed the soul in the brain, while Descartes relegates it to ‘the minute portion of [the brain], the pineal gland’ (CW10 211).

150 John Howley ‘a Thomist of over forty years’ standing’ claimed the essay foundered on a category error, but claimed that Aquinas’argument came from Augustine and not Boethius (Irish Statesman 6 October 1928, 981–92). Another unsigned letter dismissed Yeats as ‘not even a tyro’ in Thomist studies, and as too reliant on Cardinal Mercier’s A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1921; YL 1305): see ‘Mr. Yeats and St. Thomas’ in the Dublin Standard, 29 September 1928, 12.

151 Eason’s took 200 copies, and the rest were a few direct subscriptions. See Cullen, 271.

152 SS 175 (headnote).

153 NC 249. See also below, 311–16.

154 The soul ‘coming into possession of itself forever in a single moment’ (CW13 61; CVA 73) is an idea familiar from Mythologies (M 348), and elsewhere, including ‘Leo Africanus’ (YA19 333), notably in Explorations (37) where Yeats attributes it to Aquinas, via Villiers de L’Isle Adam. Indeed, in Axel (I, VI) one finds ‘Car l’éternité, dit excellement saint Thomas, n’est que la pleine possession de soi-meme en seul et même instant’ (Axël (Paris, 1890), 35); or, as in Axel 1925 ‘For eternity, as Saint Thomas well remarks, is merely the full and entire possession of oneself in one and the same instant’ (60). Since this phrase becomes for Yeats a key statement upon what he refers to as ‘Beatific Vision’ (A Vision, xii) it would have been worth-while for the editors to have pursued the matter to the Summâ Theologica (Part I, Quaestio 10) where Aquinas addresses himself to testing the Boethian doctrine that eternity is ‘interminabilis vitae tota simul et perfecta possessio’ (De Consolatione Philosophiae, V, 6). Aquinas returns to the matter in the Summa Contra Gentiles (I, 15), in discussing God’s eternity, but it is in the quaestio referred to above that he draws from Boethius’s definition a distinction between aeviternity and eternity which, though never formulated as such by Yeats, comes close to the essence of his thinking. See Gould, Review of g. m. Harper and w. k. Hood (eds.), A Critical Edition of w. b. Yeats’s ‘A Vision’ (1925) in Notes and Queries, 28. 5 (October 1981), 458–60.

155 OED thinks Johnson wrong for defining (1755) ‘Eviternityas ‘duration not infinitely, but indefinitely long’.

156 CW10 211–12 and n.

157 VSR 137; M2005 183.

158 Sometimes this occurs during orgasm, as in ‘On Woman’ or in ‘Leda and the Swan’ but also, as in ‘The Phases of the Moon’, when creatures of the full moon ‘Are met on the waste hills by countrymen | Who shudder and hurry by: body and soul | estranged amid the strangeness of themselves’. Some, he thought, resisted thus being ‘overwhelmed by miracle’, with ‘horror’. See CW14 19; AVB 25; CW10 199.

159 ‘Some thousands’ of up to eleven English Sunday newspapers were forcibly removed at gunpoint by masked vigilantes, sprinkled with petrol, and set alight, causing damage to the station, and scorching the train. See e.g., ‘Revolvers and Petrol: English Papers Burned at Dundalk’, The Irish Times, 2 May 1927, 8, though the story was widely reported.

160 Yeats thought that the ‘great numbers of small shopkeepers and station-masters who vaguely disapprove of their methods approve those motives [and cannot see why the perceived] good of the nine-tenths, that never open a book, should not prevail over the good of the tenth that does …’. (CW10 217).

161 On this ‘exposure’, c. October 1926, see below, 208–10.

162 A piece bitterly attacked by the Catholic Bulletin in its comprehensive summaries of the press battles around the new Censorship Bill: see notes in Appendix 1 below.

163 CW10 218. See also above, on ‘shudder’ in Yeats, 197 and n. 158.

164 See above 124, n. 4, ‘I spent about ten days on the thing and its not worth the trouble. It is something else altogether dressed out to look like a review’ he told Verschoyle.

165 See below, Appendix, 208.

166 Cullen’s is the best account of this period.

167 The self-suppression and burning had happened when the catalogue of what became the County Galway Libraries had been reviewed by the Archbishop of Tuam, and on the instructions of the Carnegie Trust, between December 1924 and February 1925. The categories of books included treatises ‘on philosophy and religion which were definitely anti-Christian works; novels of the following type—(1) Complete frankness in words in dealing with sex matters; (2) insidious or categorical denunciation of marriage or glorification of the unmarried mother and the mistress; (3) the glorification of physical passion; (4) contempt of the proprieties or conventions; (5) the details and the stressing of morbidity’. By 1928, attempts were being made to dampen down publicity: ‘Mountains had been made out of molehills, and the committee had been made a kind if cockshot. Whatever was done was honestly and conscientiously done in the moral interests of the people, and they feared no publicity or criticism and had no apology to make. … the kind of books that had been burned were one-and-sixpenny novels “in which things were put slightly bluntly”. Every book written by Bernard Shaw should not be withdrawn’. Moreover, ‘not one per cent of the Irish people could object to the books that had been burnt …’. See ‘Book-burning in Galway: Library Sub-Committee’s “Explanation”’, The Irish Times, 3 December 1928, 8, also above, 170, n. 102, and below, Yeats’s Sunday Times interview, in the Appendix below.

168 For evidence of its use in Carol Services in the period, see, e.g., The Irish Times, 20 December 1910, 3, mentions Hyde’s English and Irish versions); 19 December 1924 (5); 26 December 1925 (6); 2 January 1926 (6); 31 December 1938 (4). It was a popular favourite at carol service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but was not, it seems, confined to Church of Ireland services.

169 This did not mean that they may not propose legislation ‘asked for by one Church alone, but that they must show that the welfare of the State demands it’. See ‘The Irish Censorship’, in CW10 214–18 (217). The 1937 Constitution of Ireland states that ‘The publication or utterance of “Blasphemy, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law”’. This was ruled unconstitutional in 1999 because it conflicted with the Constitution’s guarantee of religious equality. A new law, the Defamation Act 2009, section 36, restores the offence of ‘Blasphemous Libel’. It has yet to be enforced. Ireland is the only European country to have enacted a blasphemy law in the twenty-first century, and it provides for fines of up to € 25,000, simply because blasphemy was forbidden under the 1937 constitution. The text defines the crime where: he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage. Article s. 36 (3) provides that—‘it shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates’. Pressure to repeal the law resulted in a referendum promised for 2015 but delayed beyond the end of this Parliament because of other referenda considered more controversial, including that held last May on equality of marriage. In the UK (except Northern Ireland) Parliament abolished the common law offence of blasphemous libel in Britain in 2008. The Northern Ireland government refuses to do so.

170 The reviews of obituaries and the writings of Aodh de Blacam and Stephen Quinn, even of Daniel Corkery, quoted in the editorials of the Catholic Bulletin, 29:2, February 1939, 75–77; ‘The Position of w. b. Yeats’ 29:3 March 1939, 183–83; and ‘Further Placings for w. b. Yeats’, 29:4 April 1939, 241–44 offer well-nigh deplorable invective against Yeats and Russell.

171 See Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men (1904), 312; see Gods and Fighting Men etc., with a Preface by w. b. Yeats (Gerrards Cross: Irish University Press in assoc. with Colin Smythe Ltd., 1970), 246–47. See also CL3, 363 and n. 1 Yeats had sought the quote from Lady Gregory on 8 May 1903. Henry Nevinson reported on Yeats’s lecture ‘Heroic and Folk Literature’ at Clifford’s Inn, illustrated by Florence Farr and Pixie Smith, 12 May 1903 (Daily Chronicle 13 May 1903, 7).

172 See above 140, n. 40.

173 The Catholic Bulletin, 16:9, September 1926, 937–43 at 943.

174 The Catholic Bulletin, 18:10, October 1928, 988.

175 Ibid., 988–92.

176 Ibid., 18:11, November 1928, 1103–04.

177 Ibid., 18:12, 1209–14 and ff.

178 According to Wikipedia, ‘as late as 1976 the Censorship of Publications Board had banned the Irish Family Planning Association’s booklet “Family Planning”. The Health (Family Planning) Act, 1979 deleted references to “the unnatural prevention of conception” in the 1929 and 1949 censorship Acts, thus allowing publications with information about contraception to be distributed in Ireland. The Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State for the Termination of Pregnancies) Act, 1995 modified the 1929, 1946 and 1967 Acts to allow publications with information about “services provided outside the State for the termination of pregnancies”’. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraception_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Ban_on_sales_1935.E2.80.931978. Shaw’s book banned in 1933 was The Black Girl in Search of Her God. See also Julia Carlson ed., with a preface by Kevin Boyle, Banned in Ireland: Censorship and the Irish Writer, edited for Article 90 (London: Routledge, 1990).

179 CL InteLex 5886, 31 May [1933].

Table des illustrations

Légende Plate 13. Centre fold of Pears’ Annual, 1925, with in illuminated design for ‘The Cherry Tree’: English Carol by Cecil J. Sharp. Decorated by (Richard) Kennedy North. Image courtesy Private Collection, London.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 576k
Légende Plate 14. Front Cover, the Irish Independent, 11 October 1927. Image courtesy National Library of Ireland.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 536k
Légende Plate 15. Cuchulain slays the dragon of ‘Tainted Literature: Front Cover of Our Boys Annual, 1915. Image courtesy Christian Brothers Province Centre, Dublin.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 600k
Légende Plate 16. Brother Canice Craven at his Editor’s desk, shining the light of Angelic Warfare onto a waste-paper basket ready to receive ‘devilish literature coming into this country’, with his Editors’s Notes for readers below. From Our Boys, 4 September 1924. Image courtesy Christian Brothers Province Centre, Dublin.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 476k
Légende Plate 17. Detail, ‘Chapter V’ of the Irish Independent, 11 October 1927. Image courtesy the National Library of Ireland.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 168k
Légende Plate 18. The Pears’ Annual book-burning as imagined by ‘g. a.’, Our Boys, 5 February 1925, 499, and as preserved in the Evil Literature files. Image courtesy the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 500k
Légende Plate 19. Front Page of To-Morrow, 1: August 1924. Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 556k
Légende Plate 20. ‘Leda and the Swan’, as printed in To-morrow, August 1924, 2. Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 136k
Légende Plate 21. Editorial (or Manifesto), To-Morrow 1: August 1924, 4. Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 304k
Légende Plate 22. ‘An Old Poem Re-written’ in its original placement, followed by Oliver St. John Gogarty’s ‘To Some Spiteful Persons’ in The Irish Statesman, 8 November 1924 (266–67). Image courtesy the National Library of Ireland.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 500k
Légende Plate 23. Galley Proofs of Early Poems and Stories (1925), corrected by Yeats. Image courtesy the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection (Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations), New York Public Library.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 372k
Légende Plate 24. Detail of Plate 23.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 224k
Légende Plate 25. Further detail of Plate 23.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 96k
Légende Plates 26a−b. ‘The Cherry-Tree Carol’, Cuala Press Broadside version (No. 7, December 1909), illustrated by Jack B. Yeats, the final three stanzas of which are on the following page (detail). Images courtesy Digital Library@Villanova University.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 528k
Légende Plate 27. Douglas Hyde’s parallel text Irish and English versions taken down in Mayo. From Religious Songs of Connacht (1906, 280-81). Private Collection, London. Image courtesy Warwick Gould.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 416k
Légende Plates 28-29. Two ‘Black Lists’ from the ‘Evil Literature’ papers, a printed and subsequently a typed list of ‘Some Objectionable Papers and Periodicals’, the latter showing the addition of Pears’ Annual. Images courtesy the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 392k
Légende Plate 30. Titian’s ‘Sacred and Profane Love’ (1514), Borghese Gallery, Rome. Image Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​FUe:Tiziano_-_Amor_Sacro_y_Amor_Profaiio_(Galer%C3%ADa_Borghese,_Roma,_1514).jpg
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/5648/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 484k

Auteur

Emeritus Professor of English Literature in the University of London, and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies (in the School of Advanced Study), of which he was Founder-Director 1999–2013. He is co-author of Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1988, rev. 2001), and co-editor of The Secret Rose, Stories by w. b. Yeats: A Variorum Edition (1981, rev. 1992), The Collected Letters of w. b. Yeats, Volume II, 1896–1900 (1997), and Mythologies (2005). He has edited Yeats Annual for thirty years.

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search