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Volume :6 Issue : 23 1986      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Yeats, the man of letters

Auther : Raymond W. Kearney

Yeats thought that the life of the poet, his philosophy, and his work should be seen as awhole. This was his approach to other poets and this was the way he wished to be seen himself. Yeats’s output is very large apart from his poetry, and since he wrote in almost every genre, and since he needed ideas to write poetry, he is best seen as a man of letters in the European tradition rather than as a lyric poet only.

Yeats was concerned with nationalism and literature, the relationship of life to are, and the spirit world. He also had an overriding desire to create a unity of these elements, and to create a hierarchy of values. So, long before the system he incorporated in A Vision Yeats was trying to systematize his thought He tried-to use his own phrase- to hammer his thoughts into unity. He wrote, “I had three interests: interest in a form of literature, in a form of philosophy, and a belief in nationality. None of these seemed to have anything to do with the other.. Now all three are a discrete expression of a single conviction”.

He wanted to achieve a unity, but not just for himself, but for Ireland also. He wanted nationalism, literature, and philosophy to make a more abundant existence possible for himself and his country. There is a persistent identification of himself with Ireland. He wanted to relate creative life to the national life. he thought, just as James Joyce did, that if he expressed himself, he would express the race too.

 

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