Reviews of A Vision B

enlarge this window                      close this window

New Republic

20 April 1938

p. 339

Edmund Wilson


Yeats’s Vision

A Vision, by W. B. Yeats. New York: The Macmillan Company. 312 pages. $3.

THE FIRST EDITION of “A Vision,” which was privately printed in 1925, has already been discussed in The New Republic. This book is the exposition of a system, rather mystical and astrological than philosophical, which, though it has provided some of the imagery of Yeats’s poems, and contains passages of beautiful writing not without psychological and historic insight, will be of relatively little interest to anybody but spiritualists and theosophists. Yeats has written a new introduction in a vein of playful fantasy rather unlike anything else he has done and reminiscent of Stevenson’s “New Arabian Nights.” He seems today to be a little apprehensive lest he be thought to take his “vision” too literally. His historical periods, he says, he regards as “stylistic arrangements of experience comparable to the cubes in the drawing of Wyndham Lewis and to the ovoids in the sculpture of Brancusi.” In a note at the end, he seems troubled by “socialistic” and “communistic prophecies,” which he tends to think may have something in them but which he has difficulty in accommodating to his system. The volume also includes “A Packet for Ezra Pound,” now first printed in a commercial edition, which throws some light on Pound’s design in his “Cantos” and tells how Yeats’s own conceptions were conveyed to him through the automatic writing of his wife.


enlarge this window                      close this window

Return to Index of Reviews

Site map