Printer Friendly

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

The figure of Cathleen ni Houlihan as an Old Woman representing Ireland now seems familiar, virtually a national revolutionary icon, for better or for worse; (1) however, the figure was effectively invented in the play W. B. Yeats and Augusta Gregory wrote in 1901, Cathleen ni Houlihan. (2) Cathleen's portrayal there is a departure from earlier depictions and was to establish the 'definitive Cathleen'. It does this by joining together two discrete, well-established, and very different figures: beautiful young Cathleen ni Houlihan and the legendary aged Cailleach Bhearra. This linking would seem to have been accomplished not by Yeats but by Lady Augusta Gregory (with Yeats's assent); both figures were considerably more familiar to her than to Yeats. It would appear that she, taking her clue from a dream Yeats had, connected the two distinct personages and refashioned the traditional young Cathleen ni Houlihan into the composite Old Woman/Young Queen, an innovative, powerful, and deadly fusion of mother figure and sweetheart. In her creation she had an agenda specifically tailored for Yeats's immediate concerns, as will be seen; yet the transformation was significant for Ireland as well. This study will consider some of the transactions involved in framing that portrayal, as well as some implications of the destructive figure for Ireland.

Looking back on its genesis, when introducing the play in February 1903, Yeats famously recalled,

One night I had a dream almost distinct as a vision, of a cottage where there was well-being and firelight and talk of a marriage, and into the midst of that cottage there came an old woman in a long cloak. She was Ireland herself, that Cathleen ni Houlihan for whom so many songs have been sung and about whom so many stories have been told and for whose sake so many have gone to their death. (3)

Unable to develop it, he said, he then took it to Lady Gregory and put himself, dramatically, into her hands. He wrote that he did not have 'country speech' and 'could not get down out of that high window of dramatic verse' (p. 232). What she did is significant: her steering of its composition not only helped shape Cathleen. It also helped to distance Yeats from Maud Gonne and provided a vehicle for remaking him into someone more acceptable not to 'Mother Ireland' but to another 'old woman', Augusta Gregory herself. Through her contributions Gregory moulded certain themes within the play, particularly the transaction between Michael Gillane (the play's central character) and the eponymous Old Woman. That shaping involves a series of destructive, asexual, and menacing discourses.

Yeats had admitted some cooperation with Gregory from the beginning and there had been contemporary suspicions about the extent of her authorship. (Oliver Gogarty, though notoriously unreliable on matters to do with Gregory, recorded, 'I think he [Yeats] said that it was understood that a play might be attributed to the one who had the idea'.) (4) The case that it was genuinely collaboration has been convincingly put by James Pethica and it seems clear that Gregory's part was not merely advice in any simple sense. (5) According to much current opinion, in Roy Foster's words:

Textual evidence suggests that Gregory wrote most of the play; her own diaries, and contemporary rumour, bear this out. WBY always gave her due credit, but implied that the plot and construction were his. This annoyed her in later life but at the time she accepted that his name would sell. [...]

Cathleen ni Houlihan, as it became [...], bears the hallmarks of the other plays Gregory came to write. It is straightforward, rather heavy-handed, reliant on predictable dramatic by-play and--for all its mechanical construction--dramatically very powerful. (6)

What Yeats almost certainly contributed was the verse the Old Woman speaks. However, most of the dialogue, the plotting, and the resolution of the play seem to be strongly influenced, if not provided, by Gregory. (7) It is these elements that determine the play's essential message. Furthermore, as will be seen, there are several themes and ideas developed that were not characteristic of Yeats's earlier work, but which reflect Gregory's concerns.

Although Gregory seems to have harboured resentment about Yeats's appropriation of virtually all credit for the play, she publicly acquiesced in it. It would be fair to ask why both she and Yeats remained uncharacteristically silent on the extent of her participation. One could say that they had to be silent on the extent of it, though for very different reasons. For Yeats, the dramatically powerful play provided a more solid Nationalist pedigree than his previous work had done, and he would invoke Cathleen ni Houlihan as an exemplum of his patriotism for most of his life. The play also (for the first time) had placed Gonne under his direction, rather than his having to submit to hers. However, by accepting complete authorship he had also accepted a Faustian bargain, as the play's authority (and Gonne's submission to it) had come to him only through collaboration. It became crucial that his Nationalist friends (and Gonne in particular) believed, and would continue to believe, that the play was almost entirely his, with Gregory assisting with the peasant dialogue.

For Gregory, the reasons would seem to be more complex. However, there appears to be an interlocking and coherent three-part design, tailored to Yeats's preoccupations, underlying both the play and her silence. First, the Old Woman, as Gregory helped shape the figure, introduced an important discourse into the play, associating Irish sovereignty with the peasant. This was uncharacteristic of Yeats's earlier and contemporary work, but it was typical of Gregory's and would become so for Yeats's. She had introduced one of her own preoccupations into his thought and had fixed it there. Secondly, Gregory's influence in the play was to prove instrumental in partially estranging Yeats and Gonne: it is the Old Woman who makes Michael Gillane turn away from his fiancee Delia Cahel, a living young woman, to pursue a strategically crafted fictional old one (allowing an escape from sexuality to textuality). The play is about an old woman stealing a fertile youth in return for sterility and death. Thirdly, and linked with the second point, the play facilitated a distancing for Yeats from direct political activism; he could become separated from Michael Gillane's revolutionary activity and become linked, instead, as author, with the textual Old Woman, retaining his patriotism. All three were areas in which, to varying degrees, she could not publicly admit collaboration, as all were topics especially sensitive to Yeats. (Gregory, of course, could never admit interfering with so delicate a subject as the touchy relations with Gonne.)

It is worth looking particularly at how the iconic Cathleen was established. In work before the play, Yeats's treatment of Cathleen was traditional and conventional, a Young Queen: the first mention of her in his poetry is in the 1894 poem 'Kathleen-Ny-Hoolihan' (written before he met Gregory). (8) There he speaks of her entirely in the aisling tradition as a personification of Ireland, with implicit youth, quiet, and purity; this concept is descended, via James Clarence Mangan, from O hlFearnain ('Heffernan') and his eighteenth-century Jacobite poem, in which 'the prince' is seen with Cathleen. Yeats had read 'Heffernan' in translation in 1888. (9) In the political aisling tradition, as The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature points out:

The vehicle of this [political] message is the female persona of Ireland, often called the speirbhean ('sky-woman'), and specifically named Caitlin ni Uallachain by Liam Dall O hlFearnain [...]. The poet wanders forth and meets a fairy woman of outstanding beauty, who is described in terms of traditional and conventional formulas; he engages in dialogue with her and asks her name, and she identifies herself as Ireland, forsaken by her legitimate spouse. (10)

In Mangan the figure remains, like Dark Rosaleen, a beautiful desirable woman as well as a symbol of Irish sovereignty. In Yeats's 'Kathleen-Ny-Hoolihan' and in the associated story, as Elizabeth Cullingford has remarked, 'love poem and patriotic poem are blended. [...] Yeats's crossing of the aisling with the Marian hymn is puritanical: the image of Kathleen stills the beating of worldly, passionate hearts, and purifies bodies that are like "heavy swollen waters"'. (11) There is nothing to suggest an old woman in either the poem or the story; Kathleen is implicitly young and beautiful.

The thought of a transforming Old Woman had come to Yeats in 1900: Edward Martyn's play Maeve (1900) had shown one in the character of Peg Inerny who was, in addition to being a vagrant, an incarnation of Queen Maeve. Gregory recorded that, in speaking to the Irish Literary Society, 'Yeats gave a beautiful little address on the plays [they had been discussing, including Edward Martyn's]--"Maeve["], in which there is a wonderful literary invention, that of Peg Inerny--the old woman in rags in the day time, but living another, a second life, a Queen in the Ideal world, a symbol of Ireland'. (12) In Beltaine of February 1900 Yeats continued the association, writing: 'There were, and are, many like her [Peg]. Sometimes, as it seems, they wander from place to place begging their bread, but living all the while a noble second life in faery.' (13) This statement was followed by several other accounts also drawn from Gregory's folklore expeditions near Gort. It was not long before Yeats had proprietorially adopted the idea and attempted to fit such a figure into his mythology. In Beltaine he tried to trace it to a memory of Biddy Early 'who journeyed with the people of faery when night fell' (p. 204). Peg Inerny is not a personification of Ireland for Martyn, although she clearly has symbolic overtones.

The symbolism Yeats came to assign to the transforming Old Woman appears to have been shaped by Gregory. It seems likely that she, drawing on his then current preoccupation with Peg Inerny, used that figure as a means to provide additional overtones of her own. There was a well-established way of portraying Ireland as an Old Woman, one Yeats largely ignored before Martyn's play, but which was familiar to Gregory. Rosalind Clark has pointed out that, 'while in the eighteenth century Ireland was pictured as a young maiden, in the nineteenth she took a different aspect. Instead of a beautiful lady "that would be crowned a queen", Ireland became personified as the Shan Van Vocht ("The Poor Old Woman")'. (14) The Poor Old Woman is emphatically not associated with Cathleen ni Houlihan in Irish tradition, let alone in earlier works of Yeats; indeed, in the 1893 poem 'Into the Twilight' he had been at pains to stress that 'mother Eire is always young' (Variorum Poems, p. 148). The link with this particular Old Woman seems to have been provided by Gregory and by the hint of Yeats's dream. Gregory also seems to have established a link between the legendary 'Poor Old Woman' and the Cailleach Bhearra, the 'old woman of Beare', an ancient nun who laments her lost youth and who retains vestigial traces of the goddess of sovereignty. Yeats seems to have made no connection himself between his earlier use of Kathleen and the Cailleach, of which he then knew very little, though he had mentioned the figure several times.

His early portrayal of the Cailleach is confused and bears little relation to the legend. In The Celtic Twilight's story 'The Untiring Ones', for instance, 'Clooth-na-Bare' (his early transliteration of the Gaelic for Cailleach Bhearra) was simply a woman who 'went all over the world seeking a lake deep enough to drown her faery life, of which she had grown weary' (Mythologies, p. 79). Then, following Standish O'Grady's ideas, he had come to see the her as a benign matriarch, (15) and, by the time of his revision of 'The Hosting of the Sidhe' for The Wind Among the Reeds in 1899, he could expand, once again, in a note:

Clooth-na-Bare would mean the old woman of Bare, but is evidently a corruption of Cailleac Bare, the old woman of Bare, who, under the names of Bare, and Berah, and Beri, and Verah, and Dera, and Dhira, appears in the legends of many places. [...] Bare is now often called an ugly old woman; but Dr [R. D.] Joyce says that one of her old names was Aebhin, which means beautiful. (p. 802)

In none of these is there an association with Cathleen ni Houlihan. In his dream, there is scant suggestion of the complex and varied Cailleach legend. (16) The play's metamorphosis of the old woman into (in Cullingford's words) an 'implacable hag' (Gender and Love Poetry, p. 65) seems to be through Gregory's guidance, with Yeats's acquiescence. She was, of course, immersed in and knowledgeable about Celtic and Irish mythology in 1901, and was at work on translation; she also related an accurate version of 'The Old Woman of Beare' in A Book of Saints and Wonders (1906). (17) (Gregory observed in her journal, when offering to play Cathleen for the Abbey in 1919, that she was perfectly qualified for the role: 'After all what is wanted but a hag and a voice?') (18)

It would also seem to be Gregory who made one characteristic (and definitely, in 1901, un-Yeatsian) connection in the play through her collaboration, the linking of sovereignty with the 'peasantry'. Rosalind Clark points out that the play 'adds a new factor: the identity of the Sovereignty with the peasant Irish peoples. [...] Thus, in order to represent Ireland, Cathleen must be a peasant' (p. 176). This association is characteristic of Gregory's work but not of Yeats's before the summer of 1901. The Old Woman Cathleen is very different from his own aristocratic and sacrificial Countess Cathleen; the Old Woman demands sacrifice, while the Countess offers it. Countess Cathleen is a figure much more in keeping with Yeats's own long-held concept of 'victimage', conscious self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. (19) The Countess Cathleen (1892-99) clearly reflects this; Michael Gillane, about to take part as a participant in the 1798 Rising, does so only to a limited extent. The figure of the Old Woman does not display it in the least, as she stands to gain through the sacrifice of others. This is not typical of Yeats's writing, but it is of Gregory's. However, scarcely a year later, by the autumn of 1902, Yeats showed how completely he had adopted the concept, writing in Samhain: 'Our movement is a return to the people, like the Russian movement of the early seventies. [...] If you would ennoble the man of the roads you must write about the roads', as if it had always been a commitment of his work. (20)

What the play portrays is a rejection of one transaction and an acceptance of another. Superficially, Michael Gillane is as disturbed by the Old Woman's visit as Yeats was by the visit of Maud Gonne to Bedford Park; he is made to abandon his advantageous marriage to beautiful, reasonably well-to-do and undemanding Delia Cahel, to aid the Old Woman in recovering her 'four beautiful fields', (p. 223, l. 252), the four provinces of Ireland. However, the transaction between Michael and the Old Woman is more complex than at first it might seem, because something very significant happens to the Old Woman after he has finally and unconditionally accepted her request for help: she is made young again, transformed into a 'young girl' who has 'the walk of a queen' (p. 231, l. 347).

Although Ireland did not originate the idea of a vampire, it has provided more than a few of the most important of them: Le Fanu's and Stoker's creations are arguably the most influential fictional vampires. R. F. Foster has provided a persuasive argument about the Gothic elements in Irish Protestant writing. (21) In this analysis, the marginalized Protestant literary response to Catholic Ireland is Gothic by nature:

It leads from Maturin and Le Fanu to Bram Stoker and Elizabeth Bowen and Yeats--marginalized Irish Protestants all, often living in England but regretting Ireland, stemming from families with strong clerical and professional colorations, whose occult preoccupations surely mirror a sense of displacement, a loss of social and psychological integration, and an escapism motivated by the threat of a takeover by the Catholic middle classes. [...] The supernatural theme of a corrupt bargain recurs again. (p. 220)

We might wish to add Gregory to this list. The transformation of the Old Woman into a young girl carries with it more than a few hints of one specific change from age to youth: the change that occurs to a vampire after an infusion of blood. Yeats had read several of Le Fanu's works by 1888 (Collected Letters, I, 82), but does not seem to have been particularly influenced by him and excluded him from his Irish canon (Collected Letters, I, 449). Although he knew Stoker, and although there were parallels with Stoker's vampire in Yeats's earlier writings, (22) Yeats did not read Dracula until the summer of 1914 (in substitution for a war-cancelled visit to Dracula's actual castle), when he was staying with Pound in Stone Cottage. (23) However, vampires were very much a part of the folklore with which Gregory was becoming familiar, and Dracula had been the best-selling book of 1897.

When Jonathan Harker first encounters Dracula he sees 'a tall old man, clean-shaven save for a long white moustache'. (24) When he sees him again in England, the Count has grown noticeably younger: Mina Harker records that she saw 'a tall thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard', while Jonathan exclaims, 'I believe it is the Count, but he has grown young' (pp. 207-08). Drinking the blood of the living is the sole thing that provides the vampire with continuing youth. Van Helsing explains:

The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing of time: he can flourish when he can fatten on the blood of the living. Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can grow even younger; that his vital faculties grow strenuous, and seem as though they refresh themselves when his special pabulum [that is, blood] is plenty. But he cannot flourish without this diet; he eat not as others. Even friend Jonathan, who live with him for weeks, never see him eat, never! (p. 286)

The Old Woman, offered a drink of milk by Michael's mother Bridget, replies 'It is not food or drink that I want' (p. 226, l. 238). Nor will she touch silver. Some of her suitors died 'hundreds of years ago' (p. 226, l. 214) and she has never accepted any of them in a sexual sense: 'With all the lovers that brought me their love I never have set out the bed for any' (p. 226, ll. 247-48). She requires death from her prospective suitors, reflected in her statement, 'If any one would give me help he must give me himself, he must give me all' (p. 226, ll. 243-47). The play's version of Cathleen ni Houlihan, for all her nationalist symbolism, carries a distinct flavour of the Undead. She can be satisfied only through periodic blood-sacrifice. This was something that Annie Horniman, the Abbey's patron, noticed as well, protesting to Yeats that running the Abbey theatre was sapping his creativity and adding, rather hopelessly, 'but what are my words against the wooing of the vampire Kathleen ni Houlihan!' (25)

Cathleen's portrayal as a quasi-vampiric figure echoes Gregory's perception of one particular figure she saw preying on Yeats: Maud Gonne. It is very doubtful that Yeats would associate Gonne with the vampire tradition, yet Gregory associated her immediately with death. When they finally met, on 18 December 1898, Gregory recorded, 'instead of beauty I saw a death's head & what it says to him [Yeats] I know not' (Diaries, p. 197). (Admittedly, Gonne was ill at the time following a bout of bronchitis.) Gregory was not prepared to like Gonne, having often been primed about how poorly Gonne had treated (and was treating) Yeats and how violently extreme she was in her politics; although she had unquestionably been told about Gonne very many times, the first mention of her in Gregory's diary is in the entry for 14 December 1897, when she wrote: 'He [Yeats] talked much of Miss Gonne--all the old story--poor boy' (Diaries, p. 161). This entry could summarize her overall reaction to the aspiring revolutionary. While they were always reasonably polite to each other, Gregory never liked the younger woman.

It had been gradually becoming clear to Gregory that Yeats was amenable to abandoning much of his personal activism. He had given her a firm indication in this direction when he wrote to her in May 1901, 'I imagine that as I withdraw from politics my friends among the nationalists will grow less, at first at any rate, & my foes more numerous.' (26) Four days later he told her, 'I have always felt that my mission in Ireland is to serve taste rather than any definite propaganda' and added that he had 'been in rather low spirits about my Irish work'. (27) Gregory, it seems, was willing to speed this process, becoming a sort of Van Helsing to Gonne's Count Dracula, and was willing to provide a literary solution that would accommodate Yeats's patriotism while distancing him from direct involvement with revolution (and from Gonne). One can see an important logic in this: more than anything else he ever produced, Cathleen ni Houlihan proved his credentials as both Irish and Nationalist, in a way that The Celtic Twilight, his earlier poems, and The Countess Cathleen could not, especially after the row in 1899 over The Countess Cathleen. In that case Nationalist criticism had singled out his treatment of Irish womanhood for special derision. (28) The Countess's sacrifice of herself to save the poor had been perceived as heretical and as an insult to Irish womanhood. Now Yeats could be seen, at least superficially, as honouring that womanhood through a fusion of two traditional symbols into a potent icon.

The play could also present Yeats, personally, with privileged detachment. Although she does not acknowledge the possibility of Gregory's hand in the composition, Susan C. Harris makes an important point about the dramatic function of the Old Woman when seen in contrast to that of Michael Gillane's mother, Bridget:

The polar opposition of Bridget and Cathleen dramatizes the impossibility, for those who adhere to Cathleen's version of nationalism, of both serving Ireland and remaining in the land of the living. According to this paradigm there is no third option: the hero chooses glorious death or ignominious life, and female characters can only function as sirens tempting him towards one or the other. (29)

The only solution to the play's dilemmatic opposition between death and life is 'authorship'; the author, alone, is not forced to choose. This was clearly facilitated by Gregory's allowing Yeats 'authorial privilege'.

Pursuit of a living woman, the play rhetorically argues, is pursuit of the shallow. Delia Cahel is constructed as 'woman' in the realist mode, an object of desire defined by the objective items she will bring: her body, 100 [pounds sterling], ten acres of land, a greyhound pup, and an uncle who is a priest. She does not enter until the last moments of the play and, once there, is allowed only five relatively inconsequential prose lines. The realist mode in which Delia is cast is, according to Pethica, Gregory's main contribution ('"Our Kathleen"', p. 10). The Old Woman is constructed as her polar opposite: old, impoverished, abstract, supernatural and implicitly sterile; furthermore, she (and she alone) is given the privilege of verse. Deirdre Toomey has pointed out that the play derives its force 'from the unheimlich, the uncanny' in opposition to the peaceful setting, of which the realistic Delia is an icon. (30)

What has created the audience's dilemma is the union of the desirable, young Cathleen ni Houlihan of O hlFearnain's (and Yeats's) poetry and the Cailleach into a composite otherworldly figure defined by her opposition to life. The Old Woman is both catalyst and fatal temptress, leading Michael Gillane from his real world to the Other. Going with her is, in the play's vision, like going with the fairies, self-destructive. Only the playwright is able to be detached from the decision she demands. By being author, Yeats is enabled to be detached from political scheming and from acts of revolution. For the audience the choice is stark; the author, on the other hand, is able to present the dilemma and simultaneously be separate from it. Yeats became privileged by the text and only by the text, a text shaped through Gregory's insertion of important elements through the collaboration.

An important element in the play is highlighted by a temporary change made to it in its first production. During rehearsals, Gonne wrote to Yeats asking for a change to the ending:

We rehearsed Kathleen tonight, it went splendidly all but the end. It doesn't make a good curtain--We are all of opinion that Michael ought to go right out of the door instead of standing HESITATING. It doesn't seem clear if he doesn't go out. If he goes out Delia can throw herself on Bridget's shoulder in tears which makes a much better end. Please write at once and say if we may do that. [George] Russell & Miss Young & the Fays & all the actors want it & think it is much better indeed necessary. (Gonne-Yeats Letters, p. 150)

The version published in Samhain had accommodated Gonne's suggestions:

DELIA Michael, Michael, you won't leave me! You won't join the French and we are going to be married to-morrow! (She puts her arms about him. He turns to her as if about to yield.) Old woman's voice outside:

They shall be remembered for ever;

The people shall hear them for ever.

(MICHAEL breaks away from DELIA and goes towards neighbours at the door.) MICHAEL Come, we have no time to lose; we must follow her. (MICHAEL and the neighbours go out.) (31)

This illuminates an important feature of the play as it was originally composed (and as Gregory herself later 'restored' it): initially, Michael Gillane was to have mixed emotions, was not going to precipitately rush out to join the French. In the version of the play Gregory edited in proof for A. H. Bullen to 'restore' the ending 'as it is acted', (32) hesitation plays an important part. Michael does not speak for the last twenty lines of the play, refusing to speak to Delia, his friends, and his parents. He makes no rousing speech calling on others to follow. When he finally and silently exits, the stage directions read: 'Michael breaks away from Delia, stands for a second at the door, then rushes out, following the Old Woman's voice. Bridget takes Delia, who is crying silently, into her arms' (Variorum Plays, p. 231). These revisions emphasize an important part of the original plan as far as Gregory was concerned. Wavering and thoughtful consideration are important factors before personal, not collective, engagement. Gonne and her Cathleen, by contrast, want total, social, instant, and vocal commitment. Gregory's version allows an alternative for one person, at least. By becoming the playwright, Yeats himself was permitted detachment and a continuing voice; having accepted it as almost entirely his own work, when it was not, he was forced to stand by it, at least in public. His testament became a barrier between him and action.

The play was first performed at St Theresa's Hall in Dublin on 2 April 1902 and an important thing had come to pass: for the first time in his life, Gonne was following his direction rather than he following hers, thanks almost entirely to the text. (33) Yet that production seems to have driven a wedge between them: two months later Gonne wrote to her sister announcing that she was secretly engaged to John MacBride. (34) Following their marriage in 1903, things altered significantly and Cathleen ni Houlihan was an important factor; their letters to each other show how the play was to contribute to a temporary and relatively acrimonious estrangement (Gonne-Yeats Letters, pp. 176-79).

Yet Cathleen ni Houlihan had been launched into Ireland. The deadly Old Woman's figure, recurrent and familiar, became a part of Irish iconography, and has quite possibly sent several out to be shot. This was brought about inadvertently and in a way that Gregory herself could never fully appreciate. Instead of a young Cathleen offering herself to a prospective suitor, Cathleen becomes, in Rosalind Clark's words, 'like the bean-sidhe or the battle crow' (p. 174). Her attractions are those of the vampire, destructive and ultimately asexual. She provides an escape from ordinary life but that escape is paid for with a terrible forfeit. In spite of parodies of Cathleen by Joyce, Beckett, and others, the figure remains, familiar and beckoning, in republican mythology. (35) She may have been invented and particularly tailored for Yeats, but she was launched on a mythic life through the play's composition. Whatever allure she still possesses is that of death.

(1) For a discussion of some of Cathleen ni Houlihan's iconic features and their destructive agendas, see Elizabeth Cullingford, '"Thinking of Her ... as ... Ireland": Yeats, Pearse and Heaney', Textual Practice, 4.1 (Spring 1990) 1-21.

(2) The Variorum Edition of the Plays of W. B. Yeats, ed. by Russell K. Alspach assisted by Catherine C. Alspach (London: Macmillan, 1966), pp. 214-35 (hereafter, Variorum Plays). All references to the play are from this edition unless otherwise noted.

(3) Variorum Plays, p. 232. , See also W. B. Yeats, Explorations, selected by Mrs W. B. Yeats (London: Macmillan, 1962), p. 116, for a more abbreviated version of this account.

(4) Oliver St John Gogarty, As I was Going Down Sackville Street (London: Rich and Cowan, 1936), p. 292.

(5) James Pethica, '"Our Kathleen": Yeats's Collaboration with Lady Gregory in the Writing of Kathleen ni Houlihan', in Yeats Annual, 6, ed. byWarwick Gould (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988) pp. 3-31. The case has also been put by Mary Lou Kohfeldt in her biography Lady Gregory: The Woman Behind the Irish Renaissance (London: Deutsch, 1985), pp. 142-46. Yeats was frequently equivocal in his choice of words describing their collaboration.

(6) R. F. Foster, W. B. Yeats: A Life: 1: The Apprentice Mage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) p. 249.

(7) None the less, even when considering the verse the Old Woman speaks, it should also be remembered that Gregory chose part of it herself for the epitaph on her Galway tombstone: 'She shall be remembered forever.' This is a modified version of the line Old Woman in the play sings as she leaves the cottage: 'They shall be remembered forever' (p. 229, l. 313). This phrase was also attributed to Gregory in An Phoblacht's obituary of her in 1932.

(8) The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W. B. Yeats, ed. by Peter Allt and Russell K. Alspach (New York: Macmillan, 1957), pp. 206-08 (hereafter, Variorum Poems). See also W. B. Yeats, The Secret Rose: Stories by W. B. Yeats: A Variorum Edition, ed. Warwick Gould, Philip L. Marcus, and Michael J. Sidnell, 2nd edn (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992), pp. 102-05; W. B. Yeats, Mythologies (London: Macmillan, 1959), p. 237. Yeats later retitled the poem 'Red Hanrahan's Song About Ireland'.

(9) The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, 1, 1865-1895, ed. by John Kelly and Eric Domville (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p. 117 (hereafter, Collected Letters, 1). On 21 December 1888 Yeats told Katharine Tynan that 'Heffernan' had provided 'the original of Mangan's "Kathleen Ni Houlihan"'. He had asked Douglas Hyde for information about 'Heffernan' in the previous week (p. 115).

(10) The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, ed. by Robert Welch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), p. 9.

(11) W. B. Yeats: Gender and Love Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 66.

(12) Lady Gregory's Diaries 1892-1902, ed. by James Pethica (Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1996), p. 240.

(13) Uncollected Prose by W. B. Yeats, II, ed. by John P. Frayne and Colton Johnson (London: Macmillan, 1975), pp. 204-07.

(14) The Great Queens: Irish Goddesses from the Morrigan to Cathleen ni Houlihan (Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1991), p. 168.

(15) Yeats expanded this idea considerably in a note added in 1899 to 'The Hosting of the Sidhe' (1893). He wrote that he forgot who told him the story, 'but it may have been from a priest at Collooney' (Variorum Poems, pp. 801-02).

(16) Gearoid O Crualaoich has provided a sevenfold typology of the Cailleach Bhearra in 'Continuity and Adaptation in Legends of Cailleach Bhearra', Bealoideas, 56 (1988), p. 164. In Type 6 she can be seen featuring in Fenian/Romantic tales. However, she is not associated with Caitlin ni Uallachain in these tales; she is linked with the Shan Van Vocht.

(17) Augusta Gregory, A Book of Saints and Wonders (Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1971). Yeats cited this story in a 1921 revision of the note to 'Clooth-na-Bare' for 'The Hosting of the Sidhe'.

(18) Augusta Gregory, Lady Gregory's Journals, ed. by Daniel J. Murphy, 2 vols (Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1978-87), I, 55.

(19) He once gave Gonne a refined precis of this: 'A Victim is a person so placed in life that he would be excited into the most violent hatred or into some other bad passion, if he did not dissolve that passion into the totality of mind, or to use the common language into God'. The Gonne-Yeats Letters 1893-1938: Always Your Friend, ed. by Anna MacBride White and A. Norman Jeffares (London: Hutchinson, 1992) p. 439. (The letter is dated 'Oct. 7 [1927]'.)

(20) Samhain, October 1902 (Dublin: Seely Bryers & Walker, 1902), p. 9. See also Explorations, p. 96.

(21) See the chapter 'Protestant Magic: W. B. Yeats and the Spell of History', Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History, (London: Allen Lane, 1993), pp. 212-31.

(22) Foster, p. 220. See also The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, II, 1896-1900, ed. by Warwick Gould, John Kelly, and Deirdre Toomey (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), p. 628 (January 1889), when Edward Dowden recommended that Yeats should contact Stoker. According to Stoker's biographer Barbara Belford, Stoker was also a close friend of many members of The Golden Dawn (Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of 'Dracula' (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1996), p. 213).

(23) James Longenbach, Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats and Modernism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988) pp. 108-09.

(24) Bram Stoker, Dracula (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979), p. 25.

(25) See Letters to W. B. Yeats, ed. by Richard J. Finneran, George Mills Harper, and William M. Murphy, with Alan Himber, 2 vols (London: Macmillan, 1977), I, p. 194.

(26) The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, III, 1901-1904, ed. by John Kelly and Ronald Suchard (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p. 71. The letter was written on 21 May 1901.

(27) Collected Letters, III, 74. The letter was written on 25 May 1901.

(28) See Collected Letters, II, 669-80. For Frank Hugh O'Donnell's remarks about Irish Womanhood see pp. 679-80.

(29) 'Blow the Witches Out: Gender, Construction and the Subversion of Nationalism in Yeats's Cathleen ni Houlihan and On Baile's Strand', Modern Drama, 34 (Fall 1996), 475-89 (p. 480).

(30) 'Moran's Collar', in That Accusing Eye: Yeats Annual, 12, ed. by Warwick Gould and Edna Longley (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997), pp. 45-83 (p. 66).

(31) Samhain, October 1902, p. 31. See also Variorum Plays, p. 231.

(32) Foster, Life, p. 580.

(33) Gonne had declined involvement with The Countess Cathleen.

(34) See Gonne-Yeats Letters, p. 154. Not long after, in the same month, she wrote to her, 'As for Willie Yeats I love him dearly as a friend but I could not for one minute imagine marrying him.'

(35) Joyce parodied the figure in the Dubliners story 'A Mother', and in the first chapter of Ulysses (as the old milkseller); Beckett burlesqued her as 'Miss Counihan' in Murphy (1938).

COPYRIGHT 2001 Modern Humanities Research Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:W.B. Yeats
Author:Merritt, Henry
Publication:The Modern Language Review
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Previous Article:The 'all-attoning name': the word patriot in seventeenth-century England.
Next Article:'Speak again': the politics of rewriting in "A Thousand Acres".

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |