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The All-Sustaining AirRomantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry since 1900$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299287.001.0001

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‘A Vision of Reality’: Mid‐to‐Late Yeats

‘A Vision of Reality’: Mid‐to‐Late Yeats

(p.34) 2 ‘A Vision of Reality’: Mid‐to‐Late Yeats
The All-Sustaining Air

Michael O'Neill (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter on Yeats explores the work of his mid-to-late career. It begins by examining ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’, a pivotal poem written in a crucial period for Yeats, and one in which he sharpens his response to Romantic culture by setting that response in dialogue with his evaluation of Dante. It is argued that Yeats's exaltation of Dante for being able to attain ‘Unity of Being’ cannot disguise his recognition of affinity with, and indebtedness to Romantic poets such as Shelley. The chapter's second half explores in detail the nature of Yeats's self-declared status as a ‘last Romantic’ in relation to a number of later poems, including ‘Coole and Ballylee, 1931’ and ‘The Gyres’. Complex intertextual relations are discussed between Yeats and his Romantic precursors (including Keats in his Odes). The chapter concludes with the suggestion that Yeats returns to the Romantics, less for a system of belief than for examples of how to dramatize conflict.

Keywords:   Ego Dominus Tuus, Dante, Shelley, Unity of Being, Keats, conflict, last Romantic, intertextual

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