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

By Vivienne Koch | Go to book overview

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Acknowledgements 6
  • Foreword 7
  • Contents 11
  • Introduction 13
  • Group One 27
  • The Wild Old Wicked Man 29
  • An Acre of Grass 43
  • Group Two 55
  • The Statues 57
  • A Bronze Head 77
  • Group Three 89
  • The Gyres 91
  • The Man and the Echo 113
  • Group Four 121
  • The Three Bushes 123
  • The Lady's First Song 126
  • The Lady's Third Song 126
  • The Lover's Song 128
  • Conclusion 147
  • Index 149
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