The "intimate enemies": Edward Dowden, W. B. Yeats and the formation of character
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionArmstrong, C. I. (2014). The "intimate enemies": Edward Dowden, W. B. Yeats and the formation of character. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 13(2), 23-42.
Stung by Edward Dowden's reluctance to endorse the Irish Literary Revival, W. B. Yeats distanced himself publicly from the TCD Professor. This act of distancing has largely been accepted by subsequent scholarship as a reflection of Dowden's lack of influence on Yeats. Despite obvious disagreements on some key points, this essay will argue that Yeats is close to Dowden on a number of issues, by tracing their intimate dialogue about the writings of George Eliot, Shakespeare and Goethe. The concept of formation of character-an English translation of the German Bildung-will prove central to their related responses to the question of what sort of life is best suited to further the development of literary gifts. These findings are framed by a discussion of Yeats's profound, and often underestimated, indebtedness to Victorian culture and ideas, and the essay also traces the biographical background to these two writers' changing relationship.
Published version of an article in the journal: Nordic Journal of English Studies. Also available from the publisher at: http://ojs.ub.gu.se/ojs/index.php/njes/article/view/2917 Open Access