Yeats, W B - Anima Mundi - The soul can mould an apparition
Type of Spiritual Experience
In 1889, W B Yeats met Maud Gonne, then a 23-year-old heiress and ardent Nationalist. Gonne was eighteen months younger than Yeats and later claimed she met the poet as a "paint-stained art student." Gonne had admired "The Isle of Statues" and sought out his acquaintance. Yeats developed an obsessive infatuation with her beauty and outspoken manner, and she was to have a significant and lasting effect on his poetry and his life thereafter. In later years he admitted,
"it seems to me that she [Gonne] brought into my life those days—for as yet I saw only what lay upon the surface—the middle of the tint, a sound as of a Burmese gong, an over-powering tumult that had yet many pleasant secondary notes."
Yeats' love remained unrequited, in part due to his reluctance to participate in her nationalist activism.
His only other love affair during this period was with Olivia Shakespear, whom he had first met in 1896, and parted with one year later. In 1891, he visited Gonne in Ireland and proposed marriage, but was rejected. He later admitted that from that point
"the troubling of my life began".
Yeats proposed to Gonne three more times: in 1899, 1900 and 1901. She refused each proposal, and in 1903, to his horror, married the Irish nationalist Major John MacBride.
A description of the experience
W B Yeats - Anima Mundi
I had always to compel myself to fix the imagination upon the minds behind the personifications, and yet the personifications were themselves living and vivid. The minds that swayed these seemingly fluid images had doubtless form and those images themselves seemed, as it were mirrored in a living substance whose form is but a change of form.
W B Yeats – from Selected Poetry
This night has been so strange that it seemed
As if the hair stood up on my head
From going down of the sun I have dreamed
That women laughing, or timid or wild,
In rustle of lace or silken stuff
Climbed up my creaking stair. They had read
All I had rhymed of that monstrous thing
Returned and yet unrequited love.
They stood in the door and stood between
My great wood lectern and the fire
Till I could hear their hearts beating;
One is a harlot and one a child
That never looked upon man with desire
And one, it may be, a queen.
W B Yeats - Anima Mundi
The soul can mould an apparition clothed as if in life and make it visible by showing it to our mind’s eye.
The source of the experienceYeats, W B
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
SuppressionsBeing left handed