Yeats Publishes The Wild Swans at Coole (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: The major poetic voice of his age, William Butler Yeats consolidated the style and themes of his mature work, bridging the divide between nineteenth century sensibilities and twentieth century concerns.
Summary of Event
In The Wild Swans at Coole, William Butler Yeats produced the second in the series of volumes of poetry upon which any serious evaluation of his reputation must be based. Critical opinion will differ as to the extent and regularity of this series. It has its origins, however, in Responsibilities (1914), the book of Yeats’s poetry that immediately preceded The Wild Swans at Coole. The shift of emphasis in Responsibilities constituted a watershed in the development of Yeats’s comprehension and acceptance of his poetic and personal preoccupations. In The Wild Swans at Coole, this new phase, characterized by increased candor, a more spare poetical style, a greater formal sophistication, and a more explicitly philosophical dimension, is consolidated and extended. Yeats’s effective revaluation of his imaginative origins in late Romantic verse is confirmed by the sheer range of The Wild Swans at Coole and the poet’s command of this range. If Yeats’s career as a whole is characterized by his ability to remake continually his poetic presence while at the same time preserving that presence’s continuity, this ability is nowhere more...
(The entire section is 2437 words.)
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