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A Vision [Paperback]

W. B. Yeats
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 2003 0766129624 978-0766129627
1925. Contents: a packet for Ezra Pound; stories of Michael Robartes and his friends: an extract from a record made by his pupils; phases of moon; great wheel; completed symbol; soul in judgment; great year of ancients; dove or swan; all soul's night, an epilogue. With many figures and illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

GEORGE MILLS HARPER is Professor of English at Florida State University. He is the author of The Neoplatonism of William Blake, Yeats's Golden Dawn, there monographs in the Dolmen Press's Yeats Paper and many articles in learned journals. He si the editor of Yeats and the Occult, co-editor (with Richard J. Finneran and William M. Murphy) of Letters to W. B. Yeats, co-editor (with Kathleen Raine) of Thomas Taylor the Platonist: Selected Writings, and a contributing editor to A Concordance to the Writings of William Blake. A former President of the College of English Association, he has lectured widely on Yeats in Europe and America. WALTER K. HOOD has been Instructor at the University of North Carolina, Assistant Professor at St. Louis University and is now Professor at Tennessee Technological University. Having written his honor's thesis, M.A. thesis, and Ph.D. dissertation (all at the University of North Carolina) on Yeats's thought and art and having lectured on and published several papers about A Vision, Professor Hood has devoted most of his academic life to the study of Yeats. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Pub Co (February 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0766129624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0766129627
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,505,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Esoteric Yeats November 3, 2004
Format:Hardcover
Yeats's "A Vision" gives an esoteric and occult view of the nature of reality and is the product of years of collaboration between the poet, W. B. Yeats, and his wife, George, in automatic writing, followed by years of synthesis and research to work it into book form. The system presented here views everything as subject to a cycle of changes, "gyres", and the stages of the cycle are symbolised by the phases of the Moon. This cycle and its phases apply to human incarnations, the process of the soul's after-lives, and to the broad sweep of history. It is a difficult and coherent system, which has elements in common with other esoteric systems but is also different from them all.
The work exists in two versions: the 1925 version, "A Vision A", and the more final 1937 version, "A Vision B". Large blocks of the 1925 version remained unchanged in the 1937 one -- the descriptions of characters for each phase of the moon and the outline of history -- but the explanations of the processes and mechanisms involved were completely rewritten. If you are coming to "A Vision" for the first time, then you should probably go to the 1937 version first. Also, if your primary interest is the ideas, then the 1937 version is the more considered and mature treatment of the material. The 1925 version is, however, invaluable for students of Yeats, especially the later writings, since it represents a stage in his understanding of the material, which informs much of his poetry, as well as his plays and prose. Although it is generally less well organized than the 1937 version, some areas are dealt with more satisfactorily, including the relationship of human and Daimon. The fictional material, with which Yeats prefaces the exposition of the ideas, is also significantly different in the two versions.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Butler Yeats' A Vision Summarized August 20, 2007
Format:Paperback
One of the most remarkable channeled documents of the past century is Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats' A Vision. Yeats explains how he obtained A Vision as follows: "On the afternoon of October 24th, 1917, four days after my marriage, my wife surprised me by attempting automatic writing. What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two day after day to the unknown writer, and after some half dozen such hours offered to spend what remained of life explaining and piecing together those scattered sentences." Yeats spent the next twenty years on this project, and in the end produced a masterpiece which contains an all-encompassing system of symbolism which has geometrical, astrological, psychological, metaphysical, and historical components - a model of the entire universe: "all thought, all history and the difference between man and man."

The problem with trying to read A Vision is that it is incomprehensible to the intellect. The reason for this is that it is a message from the spirit world, and as such it is couched in "spirit language", which is far less linear than human language. A Vision is more like a Bach fugue or a Van Gogh painting - or a poem, if you will - than it is a linear discourse. It means multidimensional things because it expresses feelings rather than concepts.

Yeats' theory of reincarnation as described in A Vision represents a novel view of the subject: that reincarnation does not take place within a matrix of linear time. It's not as if e.g. you had a life in ancient Greece and then you died; then you had a life in ancient Rome and then you died; then you had a life in the Middle Ages and then you died; etc.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars W.B. Yeats' A Vision June 28, 2011
Format:Paperback
One of the most remarkable channeled documents of the past century is Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats' A Vision. Yeats explains how he obtained A Vision as follows: "On the afternoon of October 24th, 1917, four days after my marriage, my wife surprised me by attempting automatic writing. What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two day after day to the unknown writer, and after some half dozen such hours offered to spend what remained of life explaining and piecing together those scattered sentences." Yeats spent the next twenty years on this project, and in the end produced a masterpiece which contains an all-encompassing system of symbolism which has geometrical, astrological, psychological, metaphysical, and historical components - a model of the entire universe: "all thought, all history and the difference between man and man."

The problem with trying to read A Vision is that it is incomprehensible to the intellect. The reason for this is that it is a message from the spirit world, and as such it is couched in "spirit language", which is far less linear than human language. A Vision is more like a Bach fugue or a Van Gogh painting - or a poem, if you will - than it is a linear discourse. It means multidimensional things because it expresses feelings rather than concepts.

Yeats' theory of reincarnation as described in A Vision represents a novel view of the subject: that reincarnation does not take place within a matrix of linear time. It's not as if e.g. you had a life in ancient Greece and then you died; then you had a life in ancient Rome and then you died; then you had a life in the Middle Ages and then you died; etc.
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