Irish Elegy After Yeats

Stephen Regan

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561247
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Irish Elegy After Yeats

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
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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

Article.  10182 words. 

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

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