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45 was widespread in the late nineteenth century. To what degree it derives from Freud and to what degree Freud shares it with others remains a question. If these remarks seem argumentative, they may be influenced by the somewhat polemical character of Mr. Kallich's book itself, which makes its own opportunities, both in the first and last parts, to criticize previous work on Strachey. For all that, Mr. KaI I ich makes his point well, perhaps too well, that Strachey's "presentation of the vagaries of personality approaches the psychoanalytical" (p. 63). University of California, Davis — T. A. Hanzo 2. Vi. B. Yeats: The Pictorial Arts and "Generic Tragedy" in His Work D. J. Gordon, with Contributions by Ian Fletcher, Frank Kermode, and Robin Skelton. Vi. B. YEATS: IMAGES OF A POET. NY: Barnes 6· Noble, 1961. $3.50. B. L. fteid. WILLIAM BUTLER YEARS: THE LYRIC OF TRAGEDY. Norman: University of Oklahoma P, I96I. $4.50. Everyone knows or else should know that the best books about Yeats are those he wrote: the autobiographies, the critical essays, A VISION—his effort to "explain" history and personality—and the original editions of the poetry and drama with all the accompanying introductions, glosses of texts, and chatty notes. It is to these—and to his fine letters—that every Yeats student necessarily turns; for it is from these that Yeats constructed the ingenious self-portrait he made for the world. But "self-portrait" is a painter's term and should perhaps be out of place in a discussion of a poet. It isn't, of course. And it isn't because no one knew better that Yeats how much his poetry was founded on his own long association with painters and with painting. An art student before he was a poet, son of one noted painter and brother of another, the great champion of Ireland in the Dub 1 in-London "Lane pictures" controversy with which he was involved in one way or another through most of his mature life, he turned naturally to painting as source of image and theme. Though, for example, in "Under Ben Bulben," the poem which he expressly designed to end his work, he advises poets of the future to "sing whatever is well made" and to "Scorn the sort now growing up/ All out of shape from toe to top," it is characteristic that he Illustrated the progress of the arts not by a brief history of poetry but rather by a history of sculpture and painting, beginning with Egyptian measurement and tracing the descent of fine art down through Phidias, Michael Angelo, Quattrocento, Calvert, Wilson, Blake, and Claude. Recently, a great deal of excellent work has been done to show the extent of Yeats's reliance on painting. T. R. Henn and Giorgio Melchiori, among others, have examined visual sources of Yeats's poetry. But it remained for 0. G. Gordon, assisted by Ian Fletcher and Frank Kermode, to assemble the sort of exhibition of photographs and paintings that would make spectacularly visible to anyone acquainted with Yeats's work the crucial importance of his artist's eye. 46 This exhibit, first presented at England's Reading University in 1947 and then expanded for a fuller presentation at Manchester and Dublin in 1961, covered the entire range of Yeats's career. Itself remarkable, it was accompanied by an even more remarkable catalogue, the collaborative work of Professors Gordon, Fletcher and Kermode. For in this catalogue's brief but most perceptive articles, some of the finest critical insights about Yeats's work and a great deal of otherwise unobtainable information was unpretentiously (the original catalogue was run off on a duplicating machine) yet brilliantly presented. But the catalogue went out of print when the exhibition closed and, until very recently, remained for most persons interested in Yeats nothing more than a tantalizing rumor of something both extraordinary and unavailable. Luckily, all this is now changed. The University of Manchester has not only very handsomely reproduced the text as W. B.YEATS: IMAGES OF A POET but has accompanied it by 36 marvelous plates guaranteed to make anyone regret not having seen the full exhibition...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 45-47
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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