In this article I propose to connect Yeats’s “new fanaticism” and his “late style”—a term I have borrowed from Edward Said to describe the preposterous self-consciousness of the poet’s old age. There are two major aspects to my argument: first, that Yeats’s repeated use of violence as a poetic device, especially when he was an old man—inter-generational murder, hunger strike, political protest, or severe cultural critique—was not simply the cathartic exaggeration of a malcontent but the basis of a dialectical imagination. Second, that Yeats’s “new fanaticism” expresses the predicament of modern poetry as it finds itself, according to Hegel’s influential genealogy of the modern, stranded in the discrepant time/space between art and philosophy, between the classical world of sensuous forms and the modern state. I argue that poetic nonsynchronicity or disjointedness as it occurs in Yeats’s work, itself situated between the modes of Victorian neo-romanticism and twentieth-century modernism, frames an exemplary mode of historical thinking in and of the modern world.


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pp. 483-505
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