Lecture 4 - William Butler Yeats

author: Langdon Hammer, Department of English, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: July 1, 2010,   recorded: January 2007,   views: 1255
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

The early poetry of William Butler Yeats is read and interpreted with particular attention paid to Yeats's ambitions as a specifically Irish poet. Yeats's commitment to a poetry of symbol is explored in "The Song of the Wandering Aengus," a fable of poetic vocation. "A Coat," composed at the end of Yeats's struggle to bring about an Irish national theater, shows the poet reconceiving his style and in search of a new audience. "The Fisherman" is read as a revision of "The Song of the Wandering Aengus" which reflects this new set of concerns.

Reading assignment:

William Butler Yeats: "To the Rose upon the Rood of Time," "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," "Who Goes With Fergus?", "The Song of Wandering Aengus," "To Ireland in the Coming Times," "Adam's Curse," "No Second Troy," "The Cold Heaven," "A Coat," "The Magi," "In Memory of Major Robert Gregory," "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death," "The Dawn," "The Fisherman"; Norton: The Symbolism of Poetry (pp. 877-83)

Resources

Handout 4: W.B. Yeats [PDF]
Section Activity: W.B. Yeats [PDF]

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