In memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz

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In Memory

'Two girls in Silk Kimonos, both Beautiful, one a gazelle'. Discuss the ways in which Yeats explores the past.

  • This is a poem that looks back on 'Easter 1916' and its a kind of postscript to 'Easter 1916' written in 1929.
  • Con Markievicz was the only surviving leader of the Easter Rising, condemned to death, but then her sentence was commuted.
  • Con Markievicz, like Leda- has suffered the traumatic violence that engenders history.
  • Yeats elegy (a formal lament for the death of a particular person) recalls her youth and that of her sister, both friends of the younger Yeats. (He visited them at Lissadell when he was 29-they younger. Con died in 1927 and Eva in 1926.
  • Reference to female beauty, nineteenth century manners and aristocratic culture.
  • Yeats' nostaglic vision of them is charmed and static.
  • Politics makes them ugly to Yeats. Its as if they might have maintained their beauty had they only refrained from it. You could look at a similar attitude in 'A prayer for my Daughter' another big Yeats pem from slightly earlier, where Yeats says 'An intellectual hatred is the worst, so let her think'- his daughrer- that opinions are accursed- Women…

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