‘That Which is Unique in Man’: The Lightning Flash in Yeats’s Later Thought

  • T. Jeremiah HealeyIII
Part of the Yeats Annual book series (YA)


THE LIGHTNING FLASH in Yeats’s thought receives extensive treatment in his later works, beginning with his interpretation of a personal experience and gradually evolving into a comprehensive view of the relationship of human identity to artistic pursuit. Yet it is a notion which has never been fully understood, for while it is a major tenet of Yeats’s thought, it is not a part of his ‘public philosophy’.1 It is, therefore, hardly surprising that so many critics have passed over the matter, or been confused by its significance. To help resolve the existing uncertainty, this paper will propose a new understanding of the lightning flash, defining it as a form of communication, descending from Daimon to poet, which bestows a detailed knowledge of self and makes possible the craft of poetry.


Deliberate Effort Lightning Flash Vision Paper Natural Path Public Philosophy 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Jeremiah HealeyIII

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