Narrative discourse in W. B. Yeats's "A Vision": An analysis of the interrelationships of narrators and narrative transmissions
W. B. Yeats's A Vision has not been the subject of a comprehensive analysis. The central purpose of this study is to provide an analysis of the narrative discourse of A Vision in which Yeats frames an intricate web of relationships between narrators and narrative transmissions. Yeats's narrator "pairs" function systematically within his primary and antithetical dichotomy which corresponds to the outer, disciplined man of action and to the inner, intuitive man of contemplation, respectively.
Also, Yeats fuses a complex meaning to his surface structure of confusing charts, diagrams, and varying parts. This study shows, however, that Yeats purposely rendered a complex form to discourage the primary reader and to force the antithetical reader to struggle with its meaning as he struggled with its composition. An investigation of the intricate interrelationships Yeats frames in A Vision requires a deconstruction of the text; specifically, the surface structures, such as the identification of narrators; the middle structures, such as Yeats's relationship to the act of narration; and the deep structures, such as Yeats's relationship to the composition of the text.
Chapter One, a brief critical introduction to A Vision, reviews the complex composition and publication history. Psychological, literary, and philosophical theories of opposites which directly or indirectly influence Yeats are summarized. A survey of critical views and problems of approaching A Vision are examined.
Chapter Two delineates the significance of the extra-textual sections of A Vision--sections which scholars generally ignore. This chapter shows the structural and thematic relationships of the prefatory and introductory sections to the structure of A Vision as a whole.
Chapter Three analyzes the narrative discourse in the intratextual sections of A Vision, the central core of the book. The chapter reviews Yeats's use of his primary and antithetical dichotomy in the relationships between himself, as the principal narrator, and the text; between himself and the communicators; and between himself and the reader.
Chapter Four shows Yeats's movement away from the central part of his work--a photographic lens Yeats closes over "the mind's eye." Finally, the problems resolved through a study of the dichotomous relationships Yeats frames around his narrators and the narrative transmissions are synthesized.