At the First Things blog Michael Novak writes about W. B. Yeats:
I would not assert that Frank O�Malley or Fr. Keena listed W.B. Yeats as a Catholic writer. But I would even then, back in the 1950s, have enjoyed the challenge to show convincingly how Catholic his imagination was. And today I judge his imagination, after more experience of my own, to be even more so than I might have seen then.
Obviously, others disagree. Is that not the beauty of literary studies? We try to define standards and definitions, and then we argue where x fits with w, y, and z.
It would not be a bad time to define again, as we yield place to a younger and smarter generation, �the Catholic imagination.� And to see how many would include Lewis, Eliot, Yeats, and others among the artists who express that imagination in their work. And how many would, by contrast, limit their list of Catholic writers to the formally inscribed, the orthodox, and the relatively virtuous (or at least repentant).
Count me in the disagreeing camp. I’m really curious about how Novak would further explain this claim. I’m fond of some of Yeat’s work, but much of it leaves me cold and learning about his fascination with the occult, spiritualism, automatic writing, celtic gods, Golden Dawn, etc. makes me very leery of calling his imagination “Catholic”.
Eliot and Lewis I can definitely see. Yeats, not so much. But, like I said, I’d like to see Novak’s argument.
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