Yeats and Modern Poetry

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 11, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 263 pages
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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's 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's approach to poetic form differs from that of Pound and Eliot. Longley discusses other twentieth-century poets in relation to Yeats's 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.

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About the author (2013)

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).

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