Women in Modern Literature Poetry - Essay


(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Samuel Hynes

SOURCE: "All the Wild Witches: The Women in Yeats's Poems," in The Sewanee Review, Vol. LXXXV, No. 4, Fall, 1977, pp. 565-82.

[In the following essay, Hynes discusses the women in William Butler Yeats's poetry in light of Yeats's idea of the poetic muse as a sexual, maternally creative, and pantheistic force.]

"We poets would die of loneliness but for women, and we choose our men friends that we may have somebody to talk about women with." This is Yeats in a letter written near the end of his life, playing a characteristic lifelong role—the poet writing to a woman about men, women, and love. The generalization that he makes is...

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