Abstract: The presentation will focus on the influence of the Italian Renaissance culture in general and of Dante in particular on W.B. Yeats’s works, on his literary production written out of the encounter, in the 1890s, with Dante’s
Vita Nuova, translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and out of his Italian Renaissance experience following his tour in Italy in 1907. The first part of the presentation will discuss similarities between the Anglo-Irish and Italian Renaissance aristocracy, starting from Yeats’s belief in the elevating quality of art to which the Renaissance was devoted and on his high appreciation of the mission of the Italian aristocrat as a patron of arts. The second part will refer to specific Dantean influences on Yeats, more obvious in his early literary career, though also traceable in his later works, such as the poet-lover and the use of the mask as a projection of an antithetical completion, Dante’s imagined world being Catholic and Yeats’s being esoteric.
Key words: Yeats, Irish Revival, Dante, the Renaissance, identity, spirituality