The Works of Morris and of Yeats in Relation to Early Saga Literature

The Works of Morris and of Yeats in Relation to Early Saga Literature

The Works of Morris and of Yeats in Relation to Early Saga Literature

The Works of Morris and of Yeats in Relation to Early Saga Literature

Excerpt

Why should Morris and Yeats, both by temperament inclined towards dream, have been attracted--as they undoubtedly were--to the world of Norse or Irish saga, a world at the opposite pole of experience from theirs? This is one of the problems which I have tried to solve in the following pages. Yeats seems to me to be a much more important poet than Morris, but for the purpose of this book I have necessarily been limited to a consideration of the Yeats of the Irish Movement.

Two main questions arise: (1) What is the specific difference between the sagas and the works of Morris and Yeats? (2) Is this difference merely one of place or time or is it fundamental? The answer to the first question involves a detailed study of the sagas and of the works of Morris and Yeats, and this forms the main part of the book. I have put forward an answer to the second question in the conclusion, where I have tried to show that the difference is one between a life where the actual facts of existence are easily assimilated by art, and the modern world where the task of co-ordinating the raw material of experience may become too difficult for all but poets of the first order.

My first acknowledgment must be to the Committee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, for it was while holding a Research Fellowship from them that I completed this work, and it was their generosity which made publication possible.

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