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Mystic Modernity: Tagore and Yeats

Dutta, Ashim (2018) Mystic Modernity: Tagore and Yeats. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis looks at the interpenetration of mysticism and modernity in the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and William Butler Yeats. The relationship of these poets from Ireland and India, and their analogous ambivalence about the nationalist politics of their respective countries have received some critical attention. My thesis, by contrast, explores their involvement in mystical spirituality of both orthodox and heterodox kinds, arguing that in both of these poets’ works mysticism is not put to the service of their modern(ist) poetic projects, but deeply forms and informs those as well as their modern sensibilities. While this study revises tired readings of these poets’ relationship and offers some comparative insights into their mystic modernity, after the introductory chapter I deal with them separately in individual chapters in order to offer some in-depth reading of their works. Chapter 1 historicises the formation of Tagore’s mystic-modern orientation by studying his complex engagement with Brahmoism, Hinduism, and Western humanist ideas, while concentrating on his pre-Gitanjali poetic development. Chapter 2 examines Yeats’s early mystical associations with particular emphasis on his foundational engagement with Indian spirituality, both philosophically and poetically understood, as well as its repercussions in and relevance to the creative, mystical, and cultural-political activities of his early career. Returning to Tagore in Chapter 3, I focus on his mid to late career works in order to analyse the development of his mystic-modern notion of the spiritual evolution of man. The chapter particularly examines his complex engagement with astronomical and evolutionary sciences and his attempt to synthesise them with his eclectic mystical vision. Finally, Chapter 4 shifts to Yeats’s antithetical vision, as expressed in his mystical system and related poetry. This chapter also explores the congruity between Yeats’s later interest in Eastern Christianity and his revived enthusiasm for Indian mysticism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Mysticism; modernity; mystic-modern; mystic modernity; Tagore; Yeats; Eastern Christianity; East; Hinduism; Vedanta; Mohini Chatterjee; Shri Purohit Swami; Byzantium; pre-Christian.
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Ashim Dutta
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 16:20
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2018 16:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21997

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