"Dead many times": 'Cathleen ni Houlihan', Yeats, two old women, and a vampire

Authors
Citation
H. Merritt, "Dead many times": 'Cathleen ni Houlihan', Yeats, two old women, and a vampire, MOD LANG R, 96, 2001, pp. 644-653
Citations number
31
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Language & Linguistics
Journal title
MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW
ISSN journal
0026-7937 → ACNP
Volume
96
Year of publication
2001
Part
3
Pages
644 - 653
Database
ISI
SICI code
0026-7937(200107)96:<644:"MT'NH>2.0.ZU;2-M
Abstract
The play Cathleen ni Houlihan, which W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory wr ote in 1901, was significantly moulded by Gregory during its composition. s he introduced several discourses into the play and into Yeats's though; the se included a distancing of the author from active involvement, and an asso ciation of Irish sovereignty with the peasantry. It does this by joining to gether two discrete, well-established and very different figures: beautiful young Cathleen ni Houlihan and the legendary aged Cailleach Bhearra. Grego ry also introduced a particularly destructive and asexual theme in the port rayal of Cathleen, one which parallels the vampire legends of Le Fanu and B ram Stoker. Cathleen provides an escape from ordinary life but that escape is paid for with a terrible forfeit. Whatever allure she possesses is that of death. Cathleen's portrayal as a quasi-vampiric figure echoes Gregory's perception of one particular figure she saw preying on Yeats: Maud Gonne; t he play temporarily helped distance Yeats and Gonne.