Article

‘Easter, 1916’: Yeats's First World War Poem

Marjorie Perloff

in The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199559602
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199559602.013.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 ‘Easter, 1916’: Yeats's First World War Poem

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This chapter studies ‘Easter, 1916’, W.B. Yeats's First World War poem. It is this poem where Yeats narrates the events of the Easter Rising, and immortalizes the rebels as agents of change, not as abstract heroes. The chapter shows how Yeats presented his characters, discussing the importance of numerology and the poem's formal structure, and takes note of the mythology present in the poem, describing it as a remembrance of a controversial revolutionary event. It also states that Yeats' poem takes into consideration the inevitable ironies which are produced by even the most ‘tragic’ events, thus making it a relevant representative of its genre.

Keywords: W.B. Yeats; First World War; Easter Rising; numerology; formal structure; mythology; revolutionary event; irony; tragic events

Article.  7097 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets) ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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