Reviews of A Vision B

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Philosophical Review

March 1939
38: 284

p. 239

R. C. Bald


A Vision. By W. B. YEATS. New York, The Macmillan Company, 1938. Pp. viii, 306.

      This is a very remarkable book which, in the quality of some of its prose and in its use of symbolism, can be compared to nothing in English literature except perhaps to the shorter works of Sir Thomas Browne. It is the work of a consummate literary artist, a man of unusual clarity of mind, and a poet, yet it is based on communications from the authorís wife through automatic writing and by speech in sleep and trance. To express the phases of human personality and human history, it makes use of a symbolism as formal and remote as that which descended by devious routes from the early Greek philosophers to the mages of the Renaissance, yet, for all its formalism, the logic is that of poetry rather than of philosophy, and the symbolism has a validity, if only because it has provided a mould for the thought of one of the most sensitive minds of modern times.


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