A sacerdotal poetics: Yves Bonnefoy’s reforging of WB Yeats

Wills, Kathryn Anne (2020) A sacerdotal poetics: Yves Bonnefoy’s reforging of WB Yeats. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis presents a theological theory of translation which suggests that a Protestant poetics such as Yeats’ may be reformed in translation into a Catholic poetics such as Bonnefoy’s, and links the latter’s poetics with the phenomenological theology of Jean-Luc Marion, most particularly with ideas about the idol and icon. What translation of a literary text of this high order achieves is a theological transformation, where Catholic or Protestant poetics derive from the culturally conditioned religious elements which Yeats and Bonnefoy inherit. Such a transformation is effected by a process whereby the Protestant source text (Yeats’) is unravelled, and strands of the poem which are important to the translator are taken and redeveloped in line with his own insights (here Bonnefoy’s) in a process which brings the two poets together, rather than being about Steiner’s act of aggression. This is a crucially important process for translation, because it asserts that translations are, effectively, new works of art, since they offer a response to the original poem which is no longer about giving the reader the literal sense of the source text, but is about developing the poet’s original insights, enriching her ideas. Moreover, such ideas are of key importance theologically. Yeats’ use of images parallels what Marion calls the idol, whereas Bonnefoy’s use of images aims both to decipher idols and to present us with the icon instead. Indeed, it is the combination of a literary and a theological sense of the original source, and some personal experience of the original act, which gives birth to the poem (for Bonnefoy). This allows the creation of a new work of art, where poets communicate at the most intimate level, and motivates Bonnefoy to create a metanarrative for his anthology collection where the character of Yeats becomes more perceptive and less divided by the complexities of fury”: he reforges Yeats’ poems as a sacerdotal poet with a vision of the sacramental.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Yeats Bonnefoy, Marion, translation, hermeneutics, phenomenology, poetics, Catholic, Protestant, icon, idol, theological image.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Jasper, Professor David and Salazar-Ferrer, Dr. Olivier
Date of Award: 2020
Embargo Date: 30 September 2023
Depositing User: Dr Kathryn A Wills
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81688
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2020 08:25
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2020 08:25
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81688

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