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The Influence of French Symbolism on William Butler Yeats in His Early Years

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Title: The Influence of French Symbolism on William Butler Yeats in His Early Years
Authors: Kodani, Katherine
Issue Date: 15 Jan 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: The early poetry of William Butler Yeats was very much bound up with the forces and interests of his early years. Many of these influences-such as that or Maud Gonne, his father, and his own mystic studies-have been elucidated by some careful scholarship. Less discussed is the important impact made by the French Symbolists on much of his early work in general, and on the poems contained in The Wind Among the Reeds in particular. This impact was largely a second-hand one. It derived in general from the decadents of the 'nineties and the Rhymers' Club that Yeats helped organize in 1891. Arthur Symons, in particular, shared much of his enthusiastic knowledge of the symbolistes with Yeats. Roger Lhombreaud in Arthur Symons: Critical Biography commented on the decadent enthusiasm for the French Symbolist movement developing concomitantly across the Channel: The rising generation of poets grouping themselves informally in the Chesire Cheese found encouragement and confirmation in the intellectual and artistic movement in the France of that time. Several of the Rhymers knew Paris and had met symbolist or decadent poets there, and those who had not crossed the Channel were, through the influence of George Moore, Oscar Wilde, Whistler, unreserved admirers of the new French literary movements.1 Striving only to suggest rather than to moralize or philosophize in their poetry, these French Symbolists assigned great importance to the symbol's powers of evocation and suggestion.
Pages/Duration: 37 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/31775
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for English



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