The Whole Mystery of Art: Pattern into Poetry in the Work of W. B. Yeats

The Whole Mystery of Art: Pattern into Poetry in the Work of W. B. Yeats

The Whole Mystery of Art: Pattern into Poetry in the Work of W. B. Yeats

The Whole Mystery of Art: Pattern into Poetry in the Work of W. B. Yeats

Excerpt

These metaphysics of magicians And necromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, scenes, letters, and characters; Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.

Yeats's work has been for a number of years a favourite quarry for interpreters, explicators and source-hunters. The present book may be considered as a further exercise in this field -- and since the ultimate usefulness of such investigations has frequently been questioned, I feel that I must state at the outset the guiding principles of my enquiry.

In the first place my aim is not so much to point out the sources of different poems and to explain their meaning, as to discover and trace, as far as this is possible, the mental process by which they have come into being. At the root of each poem there is the intuition of a whole world of images, thoughts, echoes, sensuous experiences (whether auditory or visual or tactile) and stylistic conceptions, which have sunk very deeply into the poet's consciousness during the course of his life -- a world which has been slowly forming through the years and is suddenly apprehended in a unified whole, and seeks expression. The synthesis which is the poem, can, therefore, be analysed into its components, and this has in fact been done for many of . . .

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