The Sexual Politics of Yeats’s ‘Leda and the Swan’

Reading “Leda and The Swan,” the sonnet by William Butler Yeats, is an experience—it’s a vivid and violent retelling of a Greek myth where Zeus, in the form of a swan, rapes Leda. In this video essay by Evan Puschak, on YouTube as The Nerdwriter, we get an extended analysis of the sonnet and emerge with a better understanding of Yeats’s intent. “Yeats is of that exceptionally rare breed of artist who improved in quality as he entered his late life,” Puschak says at the start of the video.

The Nerdwriter seeks to unpack topics related to art, philosophy, science, and more. To support more of Puschak’s excellent analysis, visit his Patreon page.