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Menon, Orwell and the Yeats Fascism Debate.

Murphy, J., 2020. Menon, Orwell and the Yeats Fascism Debate. Orwell Studies, 5 (1), 20 -38.

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This paper argues, firstly, that V. K. Narayana Menon’s The Development of William Butler Yeats (published in 1942, with the revised edition appearing in 1960) has been largely but somewhat unjustly overshadowed by Orwell’s oft-cited review (Horizon, January 1943). Secondly, that Menon’s book, therefore, merits increased recognition and appreciation, both as a sincere and insightful evaluation of Yeats as well as a key text in its own right, along with Orwell’s distinctive and favourable review, in what has become a long-running debate over Yeats’s alleged fascist leanings. Thirdly, and paradoxically, this paper argues that Orwell’s review also merits increased recognition and appreciation for its perspicacity and power in seizing and elaborating upon Menon’s alarm over Yeats’s A Vision (dated 1925 but published in 1926, with the revised edition appearing in 1937). Lastly, it suggests that both Menon’s book and Orwell’s review deserve improved contextualisation, including attention to Orwell’s little-known subsequent review (Time and Tide, April 1943) and the broader professional relationship between Orwell and Menon at the BBC.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:fascism; journalism; Menon; Orwell; poetry; politics; Yeats; A Vision
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:34978
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:13 Jan 2021 16:43
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:25


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