W B Yeats's ``a Vision'': A Study Of Its Place In The History Of Ideas

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Patrick A. McCarthy, Committee Chair


This dissertation breaks down the structure of W. B. Yeats's mystical book, A Vision, into its main components--the use of geometry to explain metaphysics, the use of the cyclic theory of history, and the use of reincarnation theory--and analyzes them according to their places in the history of Western and Eastern ideas. The dissertation also discusses the place of A Vision as a whole in the history of such books and in Yeats's own development. As Yeats himself says, the philosophical ideas contained in A Vision are parts or offshoots of the Neoplatonic tradition (as it is known in the West), or the Perennial Philosophy, a term which embraces much of both Western and Eastern mystical thought. The dissertation provides a history of the main currents in these schools which are applicable to Yeats's work, and provides examples of ideas and illustrations applicable to the book's own philosophy and illustrations.


Philosophy; Literature, English

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