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Yeats and Violence By Michael Wood (Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University)

Summary

What happens when civilization crumbles? What apocalyptic events wait in the wings? These are the questions asked by Yeats's poem 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen'. Michael Wood explores the life of this poem through its form and historical context, examining how it seeks to make sense of a chaotic world whilst preserving the disorder of experience.

Yeats and Violence Summary

Yeats and Violence by Michael Wood (Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University)

The night can sweat with terror as before We pieced our thoughts into philosophy, And planned to bring the world under a rule, Who are but weasels fighting in a hole. W.B. Yeats, 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen' This is a book about how poetry, seen through the instance of a single poem, seeks to make sense of a turbulent and dangerous world. Poetry must introduce order and shape where there is none, and also, in certain crucial cases, remain faithful to the disorder and shapelessness of experience. Many poems manage the first of these tasks; very few manage both. W.B. Yeats 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen' (written and first published in 1921) is one of them. It is a work which asks what happens when what is taken to be civilization crumbles. What apocalyptic events wait in the wings? What are history's victims (and executors) to do except mock and mourn? Successive chapters investigate the six parts of the poem, connecting them to Yeats' broader poetic practice, his interest in the occult and his changing vision of Irish nationalism; to the work of other poets (Irish, English, Russian German); and to Irish and European history between 1916 (the date of the Easter Uprising in Dublin) and 1923 (the date of the end of the Irish Civil War). Theoretical considerations of the shape and meaning of violence, both political and religious, link the chapters to each other.

Yeats and Violence Reviews

In all, it is a worthy classroom text for opening up discussion, for beginning Yeatss work, providing contexts for analysis, and enabling a community of interpretation. Lively and lucid, it moves along at a steady pace and sustains interest for the most part despite the aforementioned moments of over-labour. In all, this is a wide-ranging, sometimes eccentric, but irrefutably passionate, penetrating, and personal tribute from one reader to a poem and a poet that we will never exhaust. * Maria Johnston, Years Work in English Studies *
Truly exhilarating * Times Literary Supplement, Paul Muldoon's Book of The Year 3/12/2010 *
Wood commits himself to detailed reading and careful interpretation of poetry; and the more of this he engages in, the less Yeats seems a mere literary manifestation of theoretical models of "violence". * Peter McDonald, Times Literary Supplement *
the reader is immersed in a range of lively arguments * New Yorker *
Wood's criticism is exuberantly characterful, adventurous in its scholarship, and greedily, giddily speculative * Leo Robson, New Statesman *

About Michael Wood (Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University)

Michael Wood was born and educated in England but has worked for much of his life in the United States, first at Columbia University and then at Princeton. He has written books on Luis Bunuel, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as The Road to Delphi, a study of the ancient and continuing allure of oracles. Among his other works are America in the Movies and Children of Silence. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. His most recent book is Literature and the Taste of Knowledge. He is the editor of Edward Said's posthumous Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grain (2006).

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: UP CLOSE AND SERIAL

Additional information

GOR002590987
9780199557660
0199557667
Yeats and Violence by Michael Wood (Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University)
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Oxford University Press
2010-06-24
260
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Yeats and Violence