Mythology and Symbolism in Irish Literature

Masters
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The present work is the synoptic essay, discussing the question of mythology and symbolism in Irish literature. According to Elmer Andrews, 'the disposition for dreaming and mythologizing is a 'peculiarly Irish phenomenon'. (Andrews 1995, p. 10 ) The work is aimed to prove, that it is often used in Irish literature, using parallels with Celtic mythology and other national symbols.

Introduction


To start with, the mechanism of mythologizing, on the levels of both artistic and mass conscience, returned to its active role in the 20th century, when there appeared the impossibility to explain the world phenomena with the help of rational connections. The active use of mythology is based on the total reconsideration of the public history, and the facts, which were supposed to be truthful before, are now probable to turn into myths. The destruction of one myth usually gives birth to another one. (Vance 1990, p. 18)
The first impulse for new mythologizing was given by symbolists. Already at the end of 19th century, pondering over the nature of symbolism as the most significant phenomenon of the new art, Yeats paid attention to the mythological tendency as the real way to return imagination to poetry, thus stimulating its further development by his own creative work. Yeats saw the contribution of Irish literature into modern art in opening new poetic source - Irish myths, which may give the most unforgettable symbols to the new age. He saw the advantage of myths in their close connection with national art, because many images and motives of Celtic myths and ancient epos, having transformed into fairy-tales, have been kept in oral tradition to the 20th century. ...
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