Yeats: the Nineteenth Century Matrix

Yeats: the Nineteenth Century Matrix

Yeats: the Nineteenth Century Matrix

Yeats: the Nineteenth Century Matrix

Excerpt

Yeatsian scholarshipo, after several decades of relative neglect of the early poetry, has suddenly veered back to correct its omissions. Within the last three years, at least four books dealing in whole or in large part with Yeats' verse up to 1899 have appeared: Harold Orel's general investigation of development from 1885-1900; Allen Grossman's intensive study of cabalistic sources in The Wind Among the Reeds;George Bornstein 's investigation of Shelleyan influences and parallels; and Harold Bloom's extensive and controversial reassessment of Yeats' career, in which he argues the superiority of the early poetry to much that came later. These works, and others, have resulted in significant refinement of the observations of earlier critics, but additional refinement is possible--especially with regard to the development of style and technique in the nineteenth-century verse. Close examination of the actual texture and the underlying stylistic and generic concepts of this verse, in conjunction with the verse of certain predecessors and contemporaries, throws new light on the question of which particular senses of "Romantic," "pre-Raphaelite," "nationalist," symbolist," and other epithets really apply to the early Yeats; and . . .

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