Yeats's middle period is explored, beginning with the middle-aged Yeats's assumption of the role of spokesman for Irish nationalism and the development of his complicated response to nationalist violence. The aestheticization of violence is considered in the poem "Easter, 1916" and briefly in "The Statues." Yeats's conception of the relationship of violence to history, with particular emphasis on the frightening interaction among the divine, the human, and the bestial, is demonstrated in the visionary poems "The Second Coming" and "The Magi," and finally in "Leda and the Swan."
This course covers the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.
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