In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

ELT 38:2 1995 late Yeats who created Ribh, the hermit who "crosses theological, geographical, and gender boundaries," to a final chapter on the curious affairs that preoccupied the final years of Yeats's life. This chapter is valuable, for one thing, because Yeats scholarship has been shy of addressing directly his friendships with Margot Ruddock, Dorothy Wellesley, Edith Shackleton Heald, and Ethel Mannin. Cullingford's reading of these affairs stresses the unconventional sexual expressions that they had in common (the relationships with Heald and Wellesley, who were lesbians, were the most obviously unusual). Yeats, despite undergoing the often-ridiculed Steinach operation to restore his virility, remained "feminized by age and impotence," according to Cullingford, and in the late verse figured himself as a Wild Old Wicked Man who could "understand, as lesbians do, those female pleasures not dependent upon an erect penis." It remained true at the end of his life that "Women who loved women also loved Yeats," and his work serves as a valuable counterfoil not only to the misogyny of high modernism but to the homoeroticism of writers of the thirties. Cullingford's work, in her turn, is feminist revisioning at its best: her reading is important, innovative, balanced, and beautiful. Margaret Mills Harper Georgia State University Yeats's Poetry M. L. Rosenthal. Running to Paradise: Yeats's Poetic Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. xvi + 354 pp. $30.00 THIS VOLUME is not the first to approach Yeats's poetry (and the plays) as if Yeats's "book" consisted of all his volumes, seen as one, with due attention paid to the placing of poems within each separate volume, "the unfolding of a lyrical sequence ... a whole group of poems having an organic reciprocity similar to that of the parts of a single lyric poem" (30). (This particular sentence refers to In the Seven Woods). In addition, Rosenthal, by and large, takes us through the volumes in dutiful chronological order. However, the point of such a survey (for that is what it turns out to be) needs to be found in something other than chronology or progression: the critic needs some thesis. And while the main title of this volume is both intriguing and even enticing, this reader found it ultimately rather tenuously related to the outcome. It would be uncharitable to be dismissive of this volume, for Rosenthal, himself a poet and an editor of Yeats, has provided us with a carefully organized 216 book Reviews and clearly written volume which certainly does no harm to have around either for the novice or the professional student of Yeats. What I mean to convey is some sense of disappointment that there is not more. As for the "feel" of the volume, Rosenthal is a sensitive reader of poetry; his own gifts as a poet help him considerably in providing us with an overall sense of Yeats's accomplishments. Nor is he shy in being critical when he feels it justified. Of course, one might say that such a "reading" produces more than one subjective opinion, and not all readers of Yeats will agree with certain judgments rendered, either those of approval or disapproval. For example, is it a bit too much to surmise that poems such as The Happy Townland," The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland," and The Stolen Child" "foreshadow powerful later creations like 'Among School Children/ the civil war sequences, and the play Purgatory. . ." (23)? After pointing out some interesting resonances of Goethe's Faust in The Countess Cathleen, is it necessary to say that Obviously, The Countess Cathleen lacks anything of the complex structure and mtellectual depth of Fausf (51)? Is "Easter, 1916" an "elegy" (149)? And is it a little odd to conceptualize At the Hawk's Well, and Cuchullain's "violent turning away from overwhelming competing pressures " as "a resolution psychically akin" to Tennyson's Maud or Mann's Magic Mountain (152)? Then there are the aesthetic judgments or preferences and dislikes offered by a sensitive and sensible poet-critic. Some of these judgments will strike some of us as on the mark; others may puzzle. For example, Rosenthal is correct in pointing to the "drama" even in the...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 216-218
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Ceasing Publication
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.