The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post both have pieces on W. B. Yeats’ great poem The Second Coming.
One of the defining poems of the 20th century, Yeats wrote it back in 1919, but it seems to predict the rise of Nazi Germany, the growth of Communism, and now postmodernism, the rise of radical Islam, current political trends in Europe, and–for columnist E. J. Dionne–Donald Trump!
The poem, famous for its lines “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”and “The center cannot hold,” is built both on Yeats’ theories of history and his take on the Christian notion that Christ will be followed by Antichrist. After the jump, read an excellent unpacking of the poem by David Lehmann, and then see what Dionne does in applying it to today’s political situation. [Read more…]