The Idea Incarnate: Mask and Image (1915–1917)

  • Noreen Doody


Mask and image are centrally important components of Yeats’s creative arsenal. This chapter looks at Wilde’s creative presence within Yeats’s evolving theory of mask and image.

Yeats’s theories on mask and image are explored through close textual reading of his later manuscripts and drafts of The Player Queen (1915–1917). In these later drafts, Yeats creatively revises Wilde’s concepts and constructs his own radical theories of mask: mask as instigator of civilization and mask as the agency through which Unity of Being is achieved.

Wilde’s contribution to Yeats’s developing theory of mask and image can also be seen in examining his essay, Per Amica Silentia Lunae, and its relation to Wilde’s De Profundis. This is a crucial creative phase in the evolution of the ultimate meaning that Yeats ascribes to mask and image in his completed philosophical system in A Vision (1925 and 1937).



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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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