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Words upon the Window Pane, first staged in 1930, is W. B. Yeats's most powerful and brilliant dramatic exploration of the occult, in which he had a lifelong interest, and an affirmation of Anglo-Irish Protestant cultural ascendancy. Written at Lady Gregory's Coole Park estate, it features a seance in which Jonathan Swift's voice is projected through a medium. Like Yeats, Swift was both politician and poet, and taking Swift as his subject allowed Yeats to cloak a political message under personal character. Quite probably based on an obscure one-act play called Swift and Stella by Charles Edward Lawrence, Lady Gregory's editor, the play is centered on a romantic triangle involving Jonathan Swift and two women, Vanessa and Stella. Yeats's use of a seance as a frame permits him to compare the present with the past by putting twentieth-century Dubliners side by side with Swift's contemporaries. This volume of the Cornell Yeats contains transcriptions and photographic reproductions of the drafts of Words upon the Window Pane, with variant readings from proofs, typescripts, and notebook entries, as well as other materials pertaining to its writing, publication, and performance.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801440472
ISBN-10: 0801440475
Format: Hardback
(238mm x 168mm x 24mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 27-Jun-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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