Professor Michael O’Neill: “Something Intended, Complete”: The Remodelled Self in W. B.Yeats
In 'A General Introduction for My Work' Yeats says that 'A poet writes always of his personal life', but that he is never the 'bundle of accident and incoherence that sits down to breakfast; he has been reborn', Yeats goes on, 'as an idea, something intended, complete'.
The lecture will use these comments as a starting point for a reassessment of the way Yeats presents the self in his poetry. The lecture will explore the poetry as a form of dramatised self-quarrelling in the light of such Yeatsian remarks as 'Personality, no matter how habitual, is a contantly renewed choice' and his conviction of the need to 'assume the mask of some other self'. In particular, it will look at Yeats's sense of the finished poem as involving both a remaking of the self and as frequently embodying the protests of the self against aesthetic remodelling.
This is part of the 'Modelling the Self' public lecture series.
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