‘Now Shall I Make My Soul’: Approaching Death in Yeats’s Life and Work

R. F. Foster

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 151, 2006 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264249
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734045 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

‘Now Shall I Make My Soul’: Approaching Death in Yeats’s Life and Work

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This lecture traces W. B. Yeats' preoccupation with the changing forms of death throughout his life, from his fin-de-siécle love-poetry to his poems of death. These poems of death were linked to his interest in Celtic legend, Irish intellectual influences and conjunctions, and magical ritual and psychic research. The lecture considers Yeats' approach to death in his later work, concluding with his creation of a structured canon of work in the light of his own death and the work that he wrote on his deathbed.

Keywords: W.B. Yeats; changing forms of death; fin-de-siécle love-poetry; poems of death; structured canon of work; Celtic legend; Ireland; magical ritual; psychic research; approach to death

Chapter.  9920 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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