“The broken wall, the burning roof and tower”: W. B. Yeats’s Revision of the Leda Myth in Historico-Political Contexts

Pawan Kumar

Center for English Studies, School of Language, Literature, and Cultural Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Orcid: Email:

Volume IX, Number 3, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n3.13

Received June 10, 2017; Revised September 15, 2017; Accepted September 18, 2017; Published September 20,  2017.


The paper critically engages with W. B. Yeats’s use of the Leda myth from ancient Greece in his works, especially focusing on his magnum opus A Vision and the poem “Leda and the Swan.” The paper, in elucidating Yeats’s employment and constant revisions of the Leda myth and its myriad symbolic meanings in his repertoire, attempts to illuminate Yeats’s commentary on the historical and political reality of the then Ireland, thereby also bringing to fore his ideas about historical progressions, change and political violence. The methodology adopted for the paper entails a close reading and critical analysis of Yeats’s aforementioned works, alongside his biographical details, aided by the critical responses to Yeats’s mythopoetic experiments by established scholars on Yeats. The paper not only sheds light on the significance of mythical, literary and artistic cross-fertilization, but also on Yeats’s ideological favouring of the necessity of violence for cultural regeneration and epistemic change.

Keywords:  Yeats, Leda myth, Yeats’s Vision, mythopoetic, ideological.