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Leda and the Swan Essay | Critical Essay #1

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Critical Essay #1

Kukathas is a freelance editor and writer. In the following essay, she discusses Yeats's choice of a brutal rape as the subject of his poem "Leda and the Swan."

When "Leda and the Swan" was first published in 1924 (in a version somewhat different than the final form that appears in modern collections of Yeats's verse), it aroused criticism from the Catholic press in Ireland because of its sexually explicit subject matter—the violent rape of a mortal woman by a god who had taken on the form of a swan. Yeats published the poem in a radical journal and hoped to stir up controversy in order to make the point that he opposed the country's repressive attitude toward "immoral" literature.

In the early twenty-first century, "Leda and the Swan" is hardly considered an indecent work and is heavily anthologized in poetry collections as one of the finest poems...

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This section contains 1,812 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Leda and the Swan Study Guide
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Leda and the Swan from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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