Original Research

The nature of the beast: Yeats and the shadow

N. Meihuizen
Literator | Vol 15, No 2 | a670 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v15i2.670 | © 1994 N. Meihuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 1994 | Published: 02 May 1994

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N. Meihuizen, University of Zululand, South Africa

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Abstract

Yeats’s ‘rough beast’ in “The Second Coming" emerges not only 'out of Spiritus Mundi, but out of an era that was especially attracted to various encodings of the unconscious, a trope, so to speak, made famous by Freud and Jung. I argue that certain psychological discourses are inherent in an era sceptical of foundationalism, that Yeats's poem is a manifestation of the machinery of this scepticism, and that, ultimately, aspects of the poem foreshadow Postmodernist interrogations of received ‘truth’.

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