Yeats and Croce
In pursuing Yeats’s reading of Groce, his agreement and occasional disagreement with the philosopher, we also touch a part of his revived devotion to philosophy after completing A Vision in 1925. In fact, the volumes in his library by or about Croce are but a few of his books on Mussolini’s Italy, and but a handful of those that helped him attack British positivism, Marxist materialism, and historic liberalism, or what Yeats called Whiggery. Since the English-speaking world had only recently become familiar with Croce, we might ask what an Irish writer from Co. Dublin, that includes a Vico Road overlooking a strand and sea like the Bay of Naples, might have in common with a native Neapolitan writer who took as his philosophic forebear Giambattista Vico. Yet the Irishman and Italian had, and would have, much in common. They were born, for instance, within a year of each other. Both hailed from distinguished families; both gave themselves to reviewing and journalism as young men. Neither became an academic, doubtless a surprising fact for our times. Both occasionally enraged the Catholic and Marxist churches. Neither understood music. History, especially that of their countries, absorbed both men. Both reacted against Fascism, Croce fairly early, Yeats later on. Both became senators yet expressed strong criticisms of their governments. At one time or another, each lived as a virtual exile in his own country.
KeywordsTheoretic Activity Double Degree Pure Concept Occasional Disagreement Historic Liberalism
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