W. B. Yeats, the Tragic Phase: A Study of the Last Poems

By Vivienne Koch | Go to book overview
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INTRODUCTION

In this study I wish to consider chiefly two aspects of the poetry of Yeats's list years, that poetry which reached and held to the 'intensity' which he had striven for all his life. I see its prevailing tragic quality as a revelation of Yeats's final bitter vision that the creative conflict in which he centred the dynamics of all cosmic and human relations could not be resolved. In the curious little document called 'Geneological Tree of Revolution' which his recent biographer, Dr. A. Norman Jeffares, appends to his work,1 Yeats made an outline for a socio-cosmological work which he never wrote. The common philosophical sources of his "'Tree'" are Nicholas of Cusa, Kant and Hegel. Two chief branches depending from them are ' "Dialectical Materialism (Karl Man and School)'" and 'Italian Philosophy (influenced by Vico)'. Under a fourth heading, "'A Race Philosophy'", a title which betrays the naïve character of Yeats's thought, he writes: 'The antinomies cannot be solved.' The antinomies are those he has lumped together under the heads of "'Dialectical Materialism'" and "'Italian Philosophy'". The significance of this for readers of his poetry is that for Yeats the antinomical

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1
W. B. Yeats: Man and Poet, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1949.

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