Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Phillip Sipiora

Keywords

art, esotericism, magic, occult, Percy Bysshe Shelley, performance

Abstract

William Butler Yeats and Aleister Crowley created literary works intending them to comprise religious systems, thus negotiating the often-conflicting roles of religion and modern art and literature. Both men credited Percy Bysshe Shelley as a major influence, and Shelley's ideas of art as religion may have shaped their pursuit to create working religions from their art. This study analyzes the beliefs, prophetic practices, myths, rituals, and invocations found in their literature, focusing particularly on Yeats's Supernatural Songs, Celtic Mysteries, and Island of Statues, and Crowley's "Philosopher's Progress," "Garden of Janus," Rites of Eleusis, and "Hymn to Pan." While anthropological definitions generally distinguish art from religion, Crowley's religion, Thelema, satisfies requirements for both categories, as Yeats's Celtic Mysteries may have done had he completed the project.

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