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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The poetry of T. S. Eliot tells us something about W. B. Yeats's relationship to critical and aesthetic tendencies that were operative in Ireland, Britain, America, and continental Europe from the 1890s onwards. The two Irish poets both felt the need to respond to the innovations of French symbolism, especially as interpreted by Arthur Symons in The Symbolist Movement in Literature. A problem shared by Yeats and Eliot was that of relating what is, in its essentials, a modern picture of the mind to tradition. This chapter compares the views of Yeats and Eliot with respect to tradition, first looking at romanticism, focusing on what idea of romantic poetry is being promoted and how it is linked to nation. It then examines the implications of ‘country spiritism’. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the idea of culture in Yeats and Eliot based on the former's comments on Henry Grattan and John O'Leary.

Keywords: poetry, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, tradition, culture, Ireland, symbolism, romanticism, country spiritism, Arthur Symons

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