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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

W. B. Yeats made elegy a significant element of his poetry. Between the end of the 1880s and the end of the 1930s, he effectively transformed the genre and made it a medium to reflect his vision of the afterlife. In his study of Yeats as elegist, Jahan Ramazani noted that death both ‘elicits abundant imaginings and marks the limit of the imagination’. Yeats's poem ‘In Memory of Major Robert Gregory’ achieves its lasting significance in the tradition of elegy, while the double elegy, ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz’, flirts with the ritualistic imagery of light and shade and seasonal change. Edna Longley has argued that Yeats enables a new kind of elegiac writing by powerfully combining Irish and British traditions, and by accommodating the language and style of World War I poets such as Wilfred Owen and Charles Sorley. Both Owen and Sorley wrote intensely about violence and death in relation to private and public commemoration.

Keywords: W. B. Yeats, elegy, afterlife, death, Jahan Ramazani, Edna Longley, Wilfred Owen, Charles Sorley, poets

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