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Modernism and the Choreographic ImaginationSalome's Dance after 1890$
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Megan Girdwood

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474481625

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474481625.001.0001

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‘Herodias’ Daughters Have Returned Again’: W. B. Yeats and the Ideal Body

‘Herodias’ Daughters Have Returned Again’: W. B. Yeats and the Ideal Body

(p.153) 4 ‘Herodias’ Daughters Have Returned Again’: W. B. Yeats and the Ideal Body
Modernism and the Choreographic Imagination

Megan Girdwood

Edinburgh University Press

Salome was a source of fascination for the poet and playwright W. B. Yeats, appearing in his poetry, letters, memoirs, and plays. Examining Wilde’s often underplayed influence on Yeats, this chapter considers Yeats’s subtle yet persistent engagement with the image of Salome’s dance as a constitutive element of his broader ambition to incorporate choreography into his theatrical projects, otherwise known as his ‘plays for dancers’. This chapter explores how Yeats’s revisions of the Salomean figure in the plays At the Hawk’s Well (1916), The King of the Great Clock Tower (1934) and The Death of Cuchulain (1939) shaped his approach to stage space, modernist dramaturgy, Symbolist themes, stage pictures, and the depersonalisation of the performer, shaped by his collaborations with the practitioners Edward Gordon Craig, Michio Ito, and Ninette de Valois.

Keywords:   modernist theatre, W. B. Yeats, Edward Gordon Craig, stage space, Ninette de Valois, Choreography, Michio Ito, Influence, Irish modernism

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