William Butler Yeats as a literary critic

Bartlett, Donald R. (Donald Radford) (1972) William Butler Yeats as a literary critic. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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William Butler Yeats's literary criticism derived from his impulse to examine and promote the kind of art he believed in, and to repudiate art founded upon what he believed were false aesthetic and philosophical principles. It shows how relentless Yeats was in his attacks upon Irish propaganda and upon what he believed was decadent in English literary tradition. His practical criticism clearly reveals the nature of his errors as a critic, but it reveals also the strengths of a dedicated man struggling towards a poetic. -- Yeats's theoretical criticism is significant for its insistence upon the importance of the poetic impulse to art, for its insistence upon the autonomy of art enhanced by, but not ultimately dependent upon, biographical and historical considerations, and for its promotion of heroic and visionary art in an unheroic and materialistic age. It shows also Yeats's unending endeavour to determine how Mask, mythology, and symbol could best be used to bring art into meaningful relation with life. -- Yeats's criticism reveals not only his aesthetic principles but his 'life-values' as well. It exposes his prejudices and caprices; but more important, it emphasizes what was essential to him: faith in heroic man, in aristocratic traditions, and in the educative image which great art provided. Ultimately Yeats's literary criticism records his attempts at getting his own thoughts in order, and its greatest value lies in the kind of poetry it helped him to write.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7189
Item ID: 7189
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 249-266.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1972
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939--Criticism and interpretation

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