William Butler Yeats Essay Example

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William Butler Yeats. William Butler Yeats was the major figure in the cultural revolution which developed from the strong nationalistic movement at the end of the 19th century. He dominated the writings of a generation. He established forms and themes which came to be considered as the norms for writers of his generation. Yeats was a confessional poet - that is to say, that he wrote his poetry directly from his own experiences. He was an idealist, with a purpose. This was to create Art for his own people - the Irish. But in so doing, he experienced considerable frustration and disillusionment. The tension between this ideal, and the reality is the basis of much of his writing. One central theme of his earlier poetry is the contrast between the aims he, and others, such as Lady Gregory, had for their movement, and the reality. He had hoped to provide an alternative to nationalism fuelled mainly by hatred for Britain, through the rebirth and regeneration of an ancient Irish culture, based on myth and legend. Instead, he found that the response of the newly emerging Irish Catholic middle class to their work, varied between indifference and outrage. On the one hand, their indifference was displayed by their refusal to fund a gallery for the Hugh Lane collection of Art, and on the other hand, they rioted in outrage at Synge’s Playboy of the Western World. The tension between Yeats’ ideal, and the reality is developed in the Fisherman and September 1913. Both these poems deal with Yeats attempts to bring Art to the people of Ireland, and the negative response of Irish society. September 1913. Here, Yeats directs his passionate rage against the Irish Catholic middle class. He perceives them as Philistines, whose values are monetary and religious, not artistic. His scorn for their petty money grubbing - dry the marrow from the bone and their narrow selfish piety Prayer to shivering prayer is set in contrast

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