Saturday, January 21, 2017

Here's an Interesting Lecture on the Gaelic Revival

"CĂșchulain in the General Post Office" by Joep Leerssen.

Of course, the lecturer is burdened by all the cosmopolitan and historicist baggage you would expect. (I've never encountered a single presentation of the Gaelic Revival that was straighforwardly approving. Ever.) But it's still interesting.

At one point, Leerssen says that Yeats opted for English in his play writing (or should that be playwrighting?) because "he had no choice, he had a tin ear, he was tone deaf, he had no talent for languages."

This comment took me aback. Not because I doubt it. I've read several biographies of Yeats and I know all these facts are true. But how is it that a man who had "no talent for languages" was one of the all-time masters when it came to using the English language? Are a lack of musical appreciation and an inability to acquire other languages somehow linked, as Leerssen seems to suggest here?

This is especially interesting to me as my lack of musical appreciation and my difficulties with any language other than English have both weighed on me at different times.   

1 comment:

  1. "Remember this, son, if you forget everything else. A poet is a musician who can't sing. Words have to find a man's mind before they can touch his heart, and some men's minds are woeful small targets. Music touches their hearts directly no matter how small or stubborn the mind of the man who listens."
    -Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind