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“A Provincial Like Myself”: Yeats, Wilde and the Politics of Identity

  • Noreen Doody
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter situates Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats within their cultural, political and historical context. The chapter argues that their common cultural heritage and particular experience of living as colonized subjects in Victorian London provided both writers with a mutual understanding and shared perspective that encouraged the growth of Wilde’s influence on Yeats.

Both writers were acutely aware of the cultural gulf that separated the Irish from their English neighbours. This awareness allows Yeats a special insight into Wilde whom he interprets in terms of his nationality. Yeats notes Wilde’s method of negotiating the complexities of Irish identity in imperial London, and the elements of play and protest that he discerns within Wilde’s response excite his youthful admiration of Wilde.

Wilde’s personal knowledge of Irish myth and culture and unambiguous affirmation of his Irish identity attract Yeats and support his own views on cultural nationalism.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen Doody
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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