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Book Chapter

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The aim of this chapter is to examine William Butler Yeats’s use of trauma as visual metadata during the Easter Rebellion in 1916 to raise critical consciousness for future rebellions in Ireland. Previous examinations of Yeats’s “Easter, 1916” focus almost exclusively on the call for rebellion. This appeal however overlooks Yeats’s challenge to preserve the spirit of resistance by focalizing on the unseen liberation within him and Ireland that remained despite the failed rebellion. With 2016 marking 100 years of “Easter, 1916,” as the most popular of Yeats’s political poems, the rhetorical appeal in this chapter will take a cognitive rather than aesthetic approach to illuminate Yeats’s epistemic ambition in “Easter, 1916.” This chapter represents an attempt to evaluate “Easter, 1916” also as poetry of resistance, but to analyze the extent to which Yeats employs visualizing as metadata to constitute and govern his audience’s visualizing practices to inspire civic and political action