Crediting Ghosts: W. B. Yeats and George Yeats Collaborate with the Dead

“How on earth, we wonder, could a man of Yeats’s gifts take such nonsense seriously?” exclaimed W. H. Auden. “How could Yeats . . . take up something so essentially lower-middle class—or should I say Southern Californian?”[1] Auden’s incredulous geography was more accurate than he knew. Perhaps the peak of Yeats’s lifelong interest in what Auden dismissively called the “mumbo jumbo of magic” (“mediums, spells, the Mysterious Orient—how embarrassing”) were the “sleeps,” joint experiments by W. B.

On Seeing Ghosts

When I first saw this image on the National Gallery of Australia’s website, I wasn’t quite sure who, or what, I was seeing (fig. 1). What is the shadowy form lurking in the bottom-left-hand-corner of the image? Is it a person emerging out of the basement, a playful photographic superimposition, or something more banal: just another painting propped in the corner?

Giving Up the Realist Ghost in The Turn of the Screw

Realism is a famously tricky term. In literary studies it can denote a genre, an (anti-)aesthetic, a narrative mode, a philosophical literary attitude, or any combination thereof.