Managing diversity through “interior variety”. A musico-literary interpretation of Yeats’s “Speaking to the Psaltery” (1902)

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In a country like Ireland, where “cultural difference […] is almost invariably construed as ‘diversity’” , the ascertainment by electronic methods that William Butler Yeats used this noun and the other members of its lexical family very rarely is no little matter. An analogous investigation through the same electronic resources shows, instead, his different literary and cultural approach to the lexeme “variety” and its lexical relatives. Five out of twenty-four occurrences of the lexeme “variety” in his works and letters are concentrated in Speaking to the Psaltery, one of Yeats’s early short essays. This paper will focus on the first, original, tripartite version of Speaking to the Psaltery (1902). This paper will then argue that, in this programmatic musico-literary essay that appeared in an emblematic London setting and with Irish national unity in mind, the Anglo-Irish Yeats attempted both “to perfect a music of speech which can be recorded in something like ordinary musical notes” and “to revive the ancient art of minstrelsy”.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteManaging Diversities in English Literature: Global and Local Imaginaries in Dialogue
Numero di pagine10
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014
EventoANDA Conference - Pisa
Durata: 22 nov 201223 nov 2012

Serie di pubblicazioni



ConvegnoANDA Conference


  • Speaking to the Psaltery
  • William Butler Yeats
  • interior variety
  • musico-literary interpretation


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