The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts

Paperback | December 25, 2010

byRonald Schuchard

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Recovering a lost literary movement that was the most consuming preoccupation of W. B. Yeats's literary life and the most integral to his poetry and drama, Ronald Schuchard's The Last Minstrels provides an historical, biographical, and critical reconstruction of the poet's lifelong attempt torestore an oral tradition by reviving the bardic arts of chanting and musical speech. From the beginning of his career Yeats was determined to return the 'living voice' of the poet from exile to the centre of culture - on its platforms, stages, and streets - thereby establishing a spiritualdemocracy in the arts for the non-reading as well as the reading public. Schuchard's study enhances our understanding of Yeats's cultural nationalism, his aims for the Abbey Theatre, and his dynamic place in a complex of interrelated arts in London and Dublin. With a wealth of new archival materials, the narrative intervenes in literary history to show the attempts ofYeats and Florence Farr to take the 'new art' of chanting to Great Britain, America, and Europe, and it reveals for the first time the influence of their auditory poetics on the visual paradigm of the Imagists. The penultimate chapter examines the adjustments Yeats made for his movement during thewar, including chanting and other adaptations from Noh drama for his dance plays and choruses, until the practice of his 'unfashionable art' became dormant in the 1920s before the restless rise of realism. The final chapter resurrects his heroic effort in the 1930s to reunite poetry and music andreconstitute his dream of a spiritual democracy through the medium of public broadcasting.

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From the Publisher

Recovering a lost literary movement that was the most consuming preoccupation of W. B. Yeats's literary life and the most integral to his poetry and drama, Ronald Schuchard's The Last Minstrels provides an historical, biographical, and critical reconstruction of the poet's lifelong attempt torestore an oral tradition by reviving the ba...

Ronald Schuchard is Goodrich C. White Professor of English and Irish Studies at Emory University.

other books by Ronald Schuchard

Format:PaperbackDimensions:500 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:December 25, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199596506

ISBN - 13:9780199596508

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Bardic Forefathers2. London Minstrels3. Dublin Minstrels4. Minstrels and Masquers5. Dancers and Choruses6. A Spiritual Democracy7. Minstrel Abroad8. 'As Regarding Rhythm': Minstrels and Imagists9. Modern Minstrels10. The Last MinstrelAppendix 1: Florence Farr, 'The Chanting of Poems' (1905)Appendix 2: Florence Farr, 'Music and Words' (1906)Appendix 3: Edmund Dulac, 'Music and Poetry' (1937)

Editorial Reviews

"The Last Minstrels is quite an accomplished piece of literary history. Schuchard unearths an impressive wealth of information from a wide variety of sources." --Wim Van Mierlo, English 11/02/2010