Leda and the Swan Historical Context

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The history of Yeats's homeland of Ireland has been one of struggle for self-determination since the twelfth century, when Britain was formally granted overlordship of the island. In addition to the fight for independence and home rule, Ireland has, since the seventeenth century, been beset with a bitter religious contention between Catholics and Protestants. When Yeats wrote "Leda and the Swan" in 1923, Ireland was in the midst of a bloody civil war that was the result of the Anglo-Irish conflict as well as the discord between the largely Catholic south and the Protestant north.

The failure of the British government to implement home rule led, in 1916, to the Easter Rising, during which many prominent leaders of the movement for independence were killed. The militant organization Sinn Féin, which had been founded among Irish Catholics, emerged as the dominant nationalist group during that time. They declared themselves...

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This section contains 702 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Poetry for Students
Leda and the Swan from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.