The scholarship offered under the SPECTRESS project gave me an opportunity to have a closer look into W.B. Yeats’s world so as to understand the subtle aspects of his creative imagination: what constituted the Irish imagination of Yeats, which images metamorphosed into his symbols and his poetic voice, the books that shaped the poet-persona of Yeats, and the people and the places of Ireland that keep Yeats immortal and alive (lovingly and warmly referring to Yeats as W. B., rather than W. B. Yeats)!
Interestingly, I was given an accommodation in Blackrock, which is close to both Sandymount (the birth place of Yeats and the house of Seamus Heaney) and Sandycove (known for the Martello tower owned by James Joyce). The daily ritual of walking through the lanes of Blackrock for taking the DART was a blissful and memorable experience: I stand inexplicably enriched just by walking past the local market, the Church, the primary school and the art activity center, the beautiful houses, the small shops, the gentle smiles
of complete strangers, and the soothing strokes of the wind blowing over the Irish Sea. It was like walking though Joyce’s Dublin and Dubliners.
Most of my work involved conducting extensive research in the National Library of Ireland
(NLI), and I fondly look back to every single day of my archival research, primarily because of the hassle free system of the library and the supportive staff at NLI. Although going through Yeats’s Vision Papers, Occult Papers and especially his mammoth library collection seemed a daunting task, but with the help of dexterous and extremely helpful librarians, I was successful in achieving the target I had set out to achieve. In fact, while going through Yeats’s manuscripts, I realized that there are numerous areas in Yeatsian scholarship which are hitherto unexplored, especially if one is working on Yeats from an Eastern perspective. This, in turn, inspired me to keep wading through the ocean of material available at NLI. Additionally, I was extremely fortunate to be in Ireland at a time when NLI organized a series of lectures on W. B. Yeats, and to witness their ongoing Yeats Exhibition, which I think is a must-visit for any Yeats researcher and scholar.
The scholarship also gave me the golden opportunity to participate in the fortnight-long
Yeats Summer School in Sligo. This was the highest point of my scholarly engagement with Yeats during my stay in Ireland: listening to and discussing my doctoral research with experts on Yeats, meeting other young scholars working on Yeats, watching performances of Yeats’s plays and poetry in various theatre houses in Sligo, taking numerous walks along the Atlantic (especially at Rosses Point and Strandhill), seeing and experiencing locales associated with Yeats, in short, soaking in the spirit of Yeats.
To add to this, I also attended various talks, seminars and conferences organized by the Long Room Hub, my host at Trinity College, Dublin, and needless to say, they aided my
understanding of the various intricacies of research and acquainted me with the numerous new researches going on in Humanities and Social Science. I am thankful to the LRH for providing me a conducive space and ambience to conduct my research. To my relief, the library of Trinity College houses almost everything that a Yeats scholar may possibly require, especially rare books related to Yeats’s mystical and esoteric aspects. The aspect of LRH which benefitted me enormously is the fact that one can exchange ideas with people across disciplines and get valuable suggestions and inputs from scholars, professors and faculty members.
It will not be an overstatement if I say that I have learnt innovative research skills during my six months of stay in Ireland, and that the scholarship offered by SPECTRESS has really helped me in collecting invaluable and previously inaccessible material for my research, thereby giving me greater clarity about W. B. Yeats’s politics and philosophy, and providing a strong ground to my doctoral research.