Yeats and Eliot

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Short Essay On W.B. Yeats And T.S. Eliot’ Poetry:
Main Similarities And Differences

Seemingly, W.B. Yeats and T.S Eliot’s lives have quite a lot in common: both authors were born in the second half of the 19th century and reached to be very outstanding figures of 20th century English poetry; in fact, both of them were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature at some point of their careers. So one might think that their poems share some inherent characteristics for they have been written during the same time period. And so it is. However, there exist two key facts that make Yeats and Eliot’s poems somewhat different: the influence that their respective homelands had on them and the relationship they built up with the literary movements of the moment.

When reading Yeats or Eliot one must take into account that their poetry is far from being purely British. On the one hand, Yeats’ work was remarkably influenced by his Irish roots. A good example of this is the interest he takes in the Irish mythology and folklore, which is expressed in his poetry by means of recurrent symbols. Apart from that, he always took active part in the politics of his native country and he even established the Irish Literary Revival. On the other hand, Eliot was born in the United States and moved to London when he was 25 years old. His poetry combines influences of each country.

Another feature that, broadly speaking, tells Yeats and Eliot’s poetry apart is the fact that there exist some differences in the literary influences they followed. Even though the age difference between them is quite small – as Yeats and Eliot were born in the years 1865 and 1888, respectively – these twenty-three years seemed to have been crucial for the literary production. Yeats started to write poetry already in the 1880s, whereas Eliot’s first poems were not published until the first decade of the 20th century. It is very important to take this into account, since the turn of century...
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