English, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts Major: English Under the Supervision of Professor Marco Abel Lincoln, Nebraska May, 2010


W.B. Yeats’s tentative entry into modernist poetics is often ascribed to his residence with Pound, to the dynamism of Vorticism, and to the turbulent social upheaval in Ireland and abroad during the early decades of the twentieth century. Without denying that such events contributed to Yeats’s marked stylistic shift in Responsibilities (1914), this thesis examines how Yeats’s antithetical impulse is heavily informed by Blake and Nietzsche and has direct bearing for how we read Yeats’s poetics through change and “transition.” Concurrent with his passive adjustment to, and resistance against, external forces and change, Yeats’s affirmation of pre-subjective forces, apocalyptic renewal, and vitalist notions of perpetual becoming informs how he effected transformation in his poetics. Poised between monumentality and movement, between the symmetrical and the sensual, Yeats’s dynamic poetics complicate how we think of Modernism as a transitive field.