Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances

Paperback | January 3, 2013

byR. F. Foster

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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. Byreturning 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 aself-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.

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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. Byreturning to the rich seed-bed of nineteenth-century...

R. F. Foster was born in Waterford and educated in both Ireland and the United States. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he subsequently became Professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck College, University of London and in 1991 the first Carroll Professor of Irish History at Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College. He was el...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.07 inPublished:January 3, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019964165X

ISBN - 13:9780199641659

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. National Tales and National Futures in Ireland and Scotland after the Union2. The First Romantics: Young Irelands between Catholic Emancipation and the Famine3. Lost in the Big House: Anglo-Irishry and the Uses of the Supernatural4. Oisin Comes Home: Yeats as Inheritor

Editorial Reviews

"Foster captures the early paradox of Yeats's self-making brilliantly." --Nicholas Allen, Irish Times 30/04/2011