Ecstasy and Peak-Experience: W. B. Yeats, Marghanita Laski, and Abraham Maslow


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

In a world beset by realism, science, and the workaday, W. B. Yeats set about inventing a dramatic form to induce ecstatic experience in his audience and dedicated his long dramatic career to that effect.1 He thought of his art, he said, as but the putting of his faith and the evidence of his faith in words or forms, and his faith was in ecstasy. 2 He was, he felt, never so alive as "at the moment when a room full of people share [that] one lofty emotion."3 Ecstatic experiences, as represented in Yeats's plays, their attendant imagery, and their import, are here examined in light of the phenomenological studies of such experiences provided by novelist and critic Marghanita Laski and by humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.