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Yeats and Modern Poetry

Scholars and critics commonly align W. B. Yeats with Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot and the modernist movement at large. This incisive study from renowned poetry critic Edna Longley argues that Yeats' presence and influence in modern poetry have been sorely misunderstood. Longley disputes the value of modernist critical paradigms and suggests alternative perspectives for interpreting Yeats - perspectives based on his own criticism, and on how Ireland shaped both his criticism and his poetry. Close readings of particular poems focus on structure, demonstrating how radically Yeats' approach to poetic form differs from that of Pound and Eliot. Longley discusses other twentieth-century poets in relation to Yeats' insistence on tradition, and offers valuable insights into the work of Edward Thomas, Wallace Stevens, Wilfred Owen, Hugh MacDiarmid, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Geoffrey Hill, Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. Her postscript addresses key issues in contemporary poetry by taking a fresh look at Yeats's enduring legacy.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Ireland as audience: 'To write for my own race'; 2. Yeats and American modernism; 3. Intricate trees: the survival of symbolism; 4. 'Monstrous familiar images': poetry and war 1914-23; 5. Yeats's other island; Postscript; Notes; Index.

About the Author

Edna Longley grew up in Dublin and was educated at Trinity College Dublin. For thirty-nine years she taught in the School of English at Queen's University Belfast, where she is now Professor Emerita. She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the British Academy. Longley has written extensively on modern poetry, and is well known for her association, as critic, with the poetic movement in Northern Ireland since the 1960s. Her books include The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland (1994), Poetry and Posterity (2000) and her edition, Edward Thomas: The Annotated Collected Poems (2008). She has co-edited (with Peter Mackay and Fran Brearton) Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry (2011) and (with Fran Brearton) Incorrigibly Plural: Louis MacNeice and his Legacy (2012).


"Edna Longley's Yeats and Modern Poetry is two books in one: it is a shrewd and luminous rereading of Yeats, and it is a powerful remapping of modern poetry, from Symbolism and Imagism to poetry of World War I, poetry of the 1930s, the Movement, and postwar northern Irish poetry. Yeats is illuminated as never before by being cast in dialogue with other modern poets, including Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Edward Thomas, Wilfred Owen, Auden, and MacNeice, who also emerge with stunning clarity and vividness through Longley's acute juxtapositions. Incisive, meticulous, and carefully researched, Longley's book advances bold and bracing claims. A masterpiece of forceful argument and precise reading, Yeats and Modern Poetry is one of the most important books on modern poetry in a generation." --Jahan Ramazani, author of Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres

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