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W.B. Yeats, Modern Poetry, and the Language of Sculpture

Quin, Jack (2017) W.B. Yeats, Modern Poetry, and the Language of Sculpture. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis explores the relationship between poetry and sculpture in the work of W.B. Yeats (1865-1939). I focus on Yeats’s poetical and critical engagement with Celtic Revival statuary, public monuments in Dublin, the coin designs of the Irish Free State, abstract sculpture by the Vorticists and the modernists, and a variety of objets d’art. The thesis shows that beyond constructing vague analogies between sculptural form and poetic form, Yeats’s lifelong engagement with a range of sculptors and sculpture movements led to more nuanced pairings of poetics and sculptural aesthetics. Drawing on archives, letters, contemporary articles and debates, this thesis foregrounds the poet’s engagement with sculptors and art writing on sculpture that have received only partial and fragmentary attention to date. Chapter one traces Yeats’s art school education, where he studied with George Russell and the sculptors Oliver Sheppard and John Hughes, and his imagining of an inter-arts Celtic Revival from 1884 to 1901. Chapter two examines his responses to Dublin public monuments and political readings of sculpture from 1898 to 1925. In chapter three I consider his role in redesigning the Free State coinage and his interest in Carl Milles and Ivan Meštrović, from 1926 to 1928. Chapter four examines Yeats in conversation with the sculpture writing of Henri Gaudier-Brzerska and Ezra Pound that proliferated the modernist ‘little magazines’ of early-twentieth century London, and the poet’s subsequent fascination with Constantin Brancusi. The fifth and final chapter surveys Yeats’s late poetry on sculpture and some of the profounder sculptural-poetic pairings borne from a lifelong interest in the art of sculpture. This project contributes to the intersecting fields of Yeats studies, Irish literary and visual culture studies, and new modernist studies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Jack Quin
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2018 16:36
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2018 16:36
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19146

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