MYSELF MUST I REMAKE: The Life and Poetry of W. B. Yeats by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

MYSELF MUST I REMAKE: The Life and Poetry of W. B. Yeats

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Another long, conscientious, well researched and somewhat ponderous critical biography for highschool readers. There is as usual in the genre less insight than information, less penetrating analysis or even shared appreciation than background fill-in (Yeats' trip to Italy occasions the revelation that ""The Renaissance was an extraordinary explosion of cultural energy in Western Europe in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Italy was where it had begun. . .""), long summaries of the writings (among the pages on ""A Vision"" Spivak goes into Yeats' correspondences between ""incarnations"" of the human personality and the 28 phases of the moon, but doesn't hint at why readers should be interested in this abstruse and admittedly ""peculiar"" scheme) and flat pronouncements (""such early poems as 'The Stolen Child' and 'Down by the Salley Gardens' are good in their own right""). Elsewhere Spivak points out that ""Yeats' poetry is full of spiral images"" but typically never speculates on their significance. To be sure she does trace and reiterate the changing themes and qualities of Yeats' work and has evidently read it carefully, but her synopses are as likely to exhaust as to stimulate interest. And when in the last paragraph she mentions that ""some say he was a pompous, credulous, vain man,"" we realize that she's given us no evidence of this or any other character traits or any glimpse of the man's personality.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1974
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell