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Yeats attitude to Ireland was ambivalent. He chose Ireland as the major theme of his poetry, he loved it and he sought to create for it a truly national literature. Yet there are occasions on whic...h he condemned the nationalism he sometimes supported and there are many poems and other writings which show a bitter hatred for the people and their twentieth century leaders. This programme looks at these two attitudes and in particular how they come together in the poem The Municipal Gallery Revisited. It traces some of the major events end friendships in Yeats' life: the writing of Kathleen Ni Houlihan, the founding of the Abbey Theatre, the Rising of 1916, his friendship with Lady Gregory and his involvement in the government of the Irish Free State. The programme uses contemporary film and photographs to illustrate Yeats involvement with Ireland and it concludes with a reading of The Municipal Gallery Revisited together v/ith representations of all the paintings mentioned in that poem. These paintings can no longer be found in a single location but were specially photographed so that they could elucidate the content of the poem. The programme is introduced by Graham Martin, Reader in Literature at the Open University and the poems of Yeats are read by Denys Hawthorne.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A306, Twentieth century poetry
Item code: A306; 09
First transmission date: 05-06-1976
Published: 1976
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:29
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Producer: Richard Callanan
Contributors: Denys Hawthorne; Graham Martin
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Dublin Uprising; Gregory, Lady Augusta; Synge, J.
Subject terms: Drama; Poetry; Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
Footage description: Graham Martin introduces the programme by talking about W.B. Yeats' close involvement with Ireland and Irish history. Martin describes the background to and course of the 1916 Dublin Rising. He describes the role of the British Government during and after the affair and its eventual effect on the Irish people. Much use of contemporary film and photographs Martin explains Yeats' reactions to the Rising of 1916. Denys Hawthorne reads the poem Easter 1916. Martin describes Yeats' ambivalent attitude towards Irish nationalism. He describes the background to Yeats' play Kathleen Ni Houlihan and comments on its popularity among nationalists. Stills from the original production are shown Graham Martin explains Yeats' influence over J.M. Synge, and how this led to The Playboy of the Western World. Reaction to this is described. Martin gives Yeats' view of middle-class nationalists. Graham Martin describes Yeats' deeply conservative views, particularly his belief in a hierarchical aristocratic society. He describes Yeats' relationship with Lady Augusta Gregory over photographs of her and her family Denys Hawthorne reads the poem Coole Park and Ballylee, 1931. Martin describes Yeats' relationship with the Irish Republic. To illustrate Yeats' persistence with elitist views Denys Hawthorne reads from the essay On the Boiler, written in 1939. Yeats' sympathy for the Irish fascist movement is briefly touched on. Kevin O'Higgin is described. Martin looks at the manifestation of political and social ideas in Yeats' poetry. He shows who Yeats was aiming at and how he tried to use his poetry to achieve his aims. Martin examines the mood of the later poems, especially In the Municipal Gallery Revisited. The programme concludes with a recital of this poem by Denys Hawthorne. The recital takes place before the actual collection of paintings that are the subject of the poem.
Master spool number: 6HT/71661
Production number: 00525_3162
Videofinder number: 720
Available to public: no