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HCE
09-21-2007, 10:38 AM
You know that poem 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death'? Would you say that the airman is existentialist (even though it predates the term by about thirty or forty years)...

Any thoughts?

Mrs. Dalloway
09-21-2007, 06:55 PM
You know that poem 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death'? Would you say that the airman is existentialist (even though it predates the term by about thirty or forty years)...

Any thoughts?


Why do you think this poem is related to existentialism?

I see there that the airman love flying and wants to die flying. I'll read carefully, in detail, but I'm sure that it's related to existentialism, though it didn't exist in that period.

downing
09-22-2007, 07:06 AM
http://www.thebeckoning.com/poetry/yeats/yeats.html



some interesting interpretations to the poem

Niamh
09-22-2007, 10:38 AM
the poem is a tribute to the memory of Major robert Gregory, the son of his close friend Lady Agusta Gregory. He died in 1917 when the plane he was flying during WW1 was accidently gunned down by the Italians. I think the way Yeats writes the poem is that Robert knew that he wouldnt return from the war. It is even possible that before he left, he may have voiced it to Yeats hence the poem. I think it may be best to read any of Yeats poems from 1919 and before as what they are with out trying to over analyse them.
His Poem In Memory of Major Robert Gregory is another example of this. It is tribute.
It is a very powerful poem all same, and seems to stem some bitterness towards the english for making the Irish fight in a war that they didnt agree with, for a country they didnt love, and against a country the had no remorse against. And in that sense he's not just remembering Gregory, but all the Irishmen that lost their lives in the war, or because of the war.

HCE
09-24-2007, 06:09 PM
the poem is a tribute to the memory of Major robert Gregory, the son of his close friend Lady Agusta Gregory. He died in 1917 when the plane he was flying during WW1 was accidently gunned down by the Italians. I think the way Yeats writes the poem is that Robert knew that he wouldnt return from the war. It is even possible that before he left, he may have voiced it to Yeats hence the poem. I think it may be best to read any of Yeats poems from 1919 and before as what they are with out trying to over analyse them.
His Poem In Memory of Major Robert Gregory is another example of this. It is tribute.
It is a very powerful poem all same, and seems to stem some bitterness towards the english for making the Irish fight in a war that they didnt agree with, for a country they didnt love, and against a country the had no remorse against. And in that sense he's not just remembering Gregory, but all the Irishmen that lost their lives in the war, or because of the war.
I know what you mean- but I'm not trying to force an interpretation onto the poem- I'm just trying to articulate what I think the poem is actually about. The poem isn't really about the airman's death- it's about his life, or life in general. I know the In Memory... poem, and that, surely, is a much more straightforward 'tribute' than this, which is more about life in general...

carpenoctem
10-16-2007, 01:08 PM
Was W.B. Yeats an existentialist?: "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned", from W.B. Yeats: The Man and the Milieu, by Keith Alldritt.:idea:

AuntShecky
10-17-2007, 12:53 PM
Are we blending existentialism with fatalism or nihilism?
To me, Yeats was a "systems" kind of guy, for instance, the Irish folklore tradition was directly or inidirectly inherent in nearly everything he wrote. But if you are a kind of deconstructionalist critic, who minimalizes the author's intentions in favor of the imbedded text, it's certainly valid to extrapolate existentialism from the airman's P.O.V. As far as the poem "predating" existentialism, I don't think so. Artistically, we had the
Dadaist movement immediately prior to and following the first World War. Philosophically, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche go back to the 19th c., correct?