'The Passionless Passion of Slaughter': Heroism and the Aesthetics of Violence

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Abstract

Kipling and Yeats led not only parallel but also curiously intertwined lives. Born in a colonial milieu, each was painfully wrenched from his boyhood haunts to be schooled in England, later rediscovering his homeland at the age of sixteen. Besides their interest in the visual arts, both men were similarly preoccupied with heroism, with folklore, balladry and the demotic voice. They were drawn to heterodox religion, and each devoted much time to secretive and hierarchical orders—in Kipling’s case Freemasonry, in Yeats’s Theosophy, and later the Golden Dawn. Most of all, both struck vatic postures, and made bids for public authority premised on an appeal to what they considered the ‘philomythic’, or myth-loving, impulse in fin-de-siècle culture. From the letters and memoirs left by their interlocutors and go-betweens, and from a study of their reception in contemporary periodicals, a picture of Kipling and Yeats embedded within their shared social nexus gradually emerges.

© 2019, The Author(s). The attached document (embargoed until 11/01/2021) is an author produced version of a chapter published in KIPLING AND YEATS AT 150: RETROSPECTIVES/PERSPECTIVES uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKipling and Yeats at 150
Subtitle of host publicationRetrospectives/Perspectives
EditorsPromodini Varma, Anubhav Pradhan
PublisherRoutledge India
Pages213-226
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781138343900
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019

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