Making the Void Fruitful: Yeats as Spiritual Seeker and Petrarchan Lover - cover image

Copyright

Patrick Keane

Published On

2021-12-17

ISBN

Paperback978-1-80064-320-8
Hardback978-1-80064-321-5
PDF978-1-80064-322-2
HTML978-1-80064-662-9
XML978-1-80064-325-3
EPUB978-1-80064-323-9
MOBI978-1-80064-324-6

Language

  • English

Print Length

270 pages (xii+258)

Dimensions

Paperback156 x 19 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.74" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 22 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.88" x 9.21")

Weight

Paperback1142g (40.28oz)
Hardback1530g (53.97oz)

Media

Illustrations3

OCLC Number

1292364259

LCCN

2019471375

BIC

  • D
  • DS
  • DSC

BISAC

  • LIT000000
  • LIT014000
  • LIT004120

LCC

  • PR5907

Keywords

  • William Butler Yeats
  • poetry
  • twentieth century
  • Ireland
  • the occult
  • T. S. Eliot
  • W. H. Auden
  • life
  • death
  • close reading
  • eroticism
  • Muse
  • Maud Gonne
  • plays
  • poems
  • Petrarch
  • Romantics
  • spirituality
  • Blake
  • Nietzsche
  • Donne
  • the thinking of the body
  • Anglophone literature
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Making the Void Fruitful

Yeats as Spiritual Seeker and Petrarchan Lover

  • Patrick J. Keane (author)

Shedding fresh light on the life and work of William Butler Yeats—widely acclaimed as the major English-language poet of the twentieth century—this new study by leading scholar Patrick J. Keane questions established understandings of the Irish poet’s long fascination with the occult: a fixation that repelled literary contemporaries T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden, but which enhanced Yeats’s vision of life and death. Through close reading of selected poems, the first section of Making the Void Fruitful assesses Yeats’s spiritualised treatment of corporeal themes, exploring sex and eroticism as the expression of a duality inherent to his ontological and supernatural convictions. The power-producing tension in Yeats’s work is not only intellectual but emotional. At its vital centre is his Muse: the beautiful political firebrand, Maud Gonne, whose activist Republican politics he considered his one real rival. Through close engagement with the poems and plays she inspired, the second section explores Yeats’s complex relationship with Maud, an obsessive and unrequited love which he sublimated and transformed into the greatest body of Muse poetry since Petrarch, in whose tradition of spiritualized eroticism Yeats, perhaps the last of the great Romantics, was consciously writing. Shaped by the conviction that no modern poet exceeded Yeats in animating the enduring themes of love and spirituality through poetry, this book emphasises the influence, of Blake, Nietzsche, and John Donne, on what Yeats called ‘the thinking of the body’. Grounded firmly in the textual materiality of Yeats’s oeuvre, this book will be of interest to researchers and students of W.B. Yeats, as well as to those in the fields of Anglophone literatures and cultures, and philosophy.

Endorsements

*Keane is a superb reader, observant of detail, sensitive to form, and always alert to the complex conversation through which a writer like Yeats finds his place in a tradition. *

Terence Diggory

Professor Emeritus of English, Skidmore College and author of Yeats & American Poetry: The Tradition of the Self

Table of Contents

Contents
Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
Part One - W. B. Yeats as Spiritual Seeker
General Prologue: The Thinking of the Body

Patrick Keane


1. Introduction: Bodily Decrepitude and the Imagination

Patrick Keane


2. Hermeticism, Theosophy, Gnosticism

Patrick Keane


3. The Seeker

Patrick Keane


4. The Byzantium Poems; Apocalypse in ‘The Secret Rose’ and ‘The Second Coming’

Patrick Keane


5. Gnosis and Self-Redemption

Patrick Keane


6. Sex, Philosophy, and the Occult

Patrick Keane


7. Mountain Visions and Other Last Things

Patrick Keane


Part Two - Love’s Labyrinth: Yeats as Petrarchan Poet (The Maud Gonne Poems)
Preface to Part Two

Patrick Keane


8. Poet and Muse

Patrick Keane


9. Maud Gonne, and Yeats as Petrarchan Lover

Patrick Keane


10. The Poems: A Sampling

Patrick Keane


11. Rose, Wind, and the Seven Woods

Patrick Keane


12. Maud as Helen: The Green Helmet Poems

Patrick Keane


13. Responsibilities and The Wild Swans at Coole

Patrick Keane


14. ‘A Bronze Head’ and Beyond

Patrick Keane


15. Thought Distracted: ‘Man and the Echo,’ ‘Politics,’ and Conclusion

Patrick Keane


Eulogy: Harold Bloom (1930–2019)

Patrick Keane


Select Bibliography
Index