Yeats, Otherness and the Orient
Yeats’s relationships with Otherness and the Orient enabled him to develop his own creative abilities and spiritual understanding in expansive ways. Exotic versions of India, Celtic orientalism, the fervent psychological probings of the nineteenth century (which showed a deep interest in the paranormal), mystical studies aided by such figures as Mohini Chaterjee, Arabist ideas and images, the Japanese Noh, Zen Buddhism, Byzantium, Vedāntic philosophy – all helped the poet to examine and express human interactions with existence that were distinctive in their figuration and underpinnings. Facing Otherness with an extraordinary philosophical and spiritual intensity, he was able to uncover (though never fully or finally anatomize) aspects of the depths of his own being. The Orient also provided him with conceptual and intuitive means to broach humankind’s relation to cosmic order; this resulted in an exploration of the Otherness which underpins existence on quite a remarkable scale, still not fully appreciated by Yeats’s readers. This book seeks to help foster such appreciation.
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