Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances

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9780199641659: Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances
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R. F. Foster's two-volume biography of Yeats was hailed in the New York Review of Books as "a triumph of scholarship, thought, and empathy such as one would hardly have thought possible in this age of disillusion." Now, Foster turns his focus to the largely unacknowledged influences that shaped the young W. B. Yeats.

So dramatic and revolutionary was Yeats' impact on Irish literature that the writers and traditions that preceded him are often overlooked, just as his successors are often overshadowed by his achievement. In Words Alone, Foster explores the Irish literary traditions that preceded Yeats, including romantic "national tales" in post-Union Ireland and Scotland, the nationalist poetry and polemic of the Young Ireland movement, the occult and supernatural fictions of Sheridan LeFanu, the "peasant fictions" of William Carleton, and the fairy-lore and folktale collections Yeats absorbed. As well as placing these nineteenth-century literary movements in a rich contemporary context of politics, polemic, and social tension, Foster discusses recent critical and interpretive approaches to these phenomena. But the unifying theme throughout the book is the self-conscious use Yeats made of his literary predecessors during his own apprenticeship, particularly in the construction of his path-breaking early work.

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About the Author:


R. F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Hertford College. His books include Modern Ireland 1600-1972, Luck and the Irish, and the prize-winning two-volume biography, W.B. Yeats: A Life (OUP 1998).

Review:


"R. F. Foster has made us more strongly aware of Yeats's inheritances from that Victorian Ireland so brightly and distinctly evoked in Words Alone."
--The New Republic


"This richly atmospheric book both complicates and enhances our view of history and Yeats's place in it. By the simple virtue of its own excellence, it deserves a wide readership."
--Adam O'Riordian, The Independent


"Foster's Yeatsian backward look proves irresistible."
--Times Literary Supplement


"Illuminating...Foster writes out of impeccable research and solid grounding; luckily for us, he wears his learning lightly and expresses it in a clear and sometimes witty style."--Common Knowledge


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. W. B. Yeats is usually seen as a great innovator who put his stamp so decisively on modern Irish literature that most of his successors worked in his shadow. R. F. Foster s eloquent and authoritative book weaves together literature and history to present an alternative perspective. By returning to the rich seed-bed of nineteenth-century Irish writing, Words Alone charts some of the influences, including romantic national tales in post-Union Ireland, the poetry and polemic of the Young Ireland movement, the occult and supernatural novels of Sheridan LeFanu, William Carleton s peasant fictions , and fairy-lore and folktale collectors that created the unique and powerful Yeatsian voice of the decade from 1885 to 1895. As well as placing these literary movements in a vivid contemporary context of politics, polemic and social tension, Foster discusses recent critical and interpretive approaches to these phenomena. He shows that the use Yeats made of his predecessors during his apprenticeship, and the part that a self-conscious use of Irish literary tradition played in the construction of his path-breaking early work as he attempted to hammer his thoughts into a unity made him an inheritor as much as an inventor. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199641659

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