Unlocking the Poetry of W. B. Yeats : Heart Mysteries book cover
1st Edition

Unlocking the Poetry of W. B. Yeats
Heart Mysteries

ISBN 9780367666439
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
402 Pages

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Book Description

Unlocking the Poetry of W.B. Yeats undertakes a thorough re-reading of Yeats' oeuvre as an extended meditation on the image and theme of the heart as it is evident within the poetry. It places the heart at the centre of a complex web of Yeatsian preoccupations and associations—from the biographical, to the poetic and philosophical, to the mythological and mystical. In particular, the book seeks to unlock Yeats’ mystifying aesthetic vision via his understanding of the ancient Egyptian "Weighing of the Heart" ceremony. The work provides a chronological narrative arc that looks to use the theme of the heart as it recurs in the poetry in order to circumvent and overcome more established frameworks. Its purpose is to offer refreshing ways of conceptualizing and building alternatives to more deeply entrenched, but not entirely satisfactory arguments that have been offered since Yeats' death in 1939, while demonstrating the centrality of the occult to Yeats' art.

Table of Contents







Part I: The Desires of the Heart

1 The Wanderings of Oisin (1889) - Themes of the Embittered Heart

2 Early Lyrics - Souls Threshed from Husks of Threshed Stars

Part II: The Divided Heart

3 The Middle Poems - Death and Rebirth

4 The Wild Swans at Coole (1919) - Toward a Coole Vision

5 Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921) - Kindling New Fire

Part III: Sufficient Heart Truths

6 The Tower (1928) - The Towering Heart of the Absolute

7 The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933) - Spirit and Matter Upon the Winding Stair

8 Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems (1935) - Magical Drumming to Absorb the Antinomies

Part IV: Tragic Joy and the Weighing of the Heart

9 New Poems (1938) - Tragic Joy in the Gyres

10 Last Poems (1939) - The Weighing of the Heart





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Daniel Tompsett was awarded his PhD in English Literature by Queen Mary, University of London. In 2012, he published Wallace Stevens and Pre-Socratic Philosophy (Routledge), and is principally concerned with 20th Century poetry, Modernism, and the connections between philosophy, mythology and literature. He is currently Head of Research at a UK Accountancy and Advisory firm.