The legacy of Yeats’s poetic conviction
in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
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In the modernist period, the ways in which American writers made use of Yeats differed from individual to individual: as each grappled with the impact of Yeats’s poetry and writings on their own work. This chapter therefore takes as its focus individual poets and critics who engaged directly with Yeats as man and poet. It considers, through Moore, the 1910s to early 1930s when his star was in the ascendant in America; through Berryman and Bogan, the mid to late 1930s when Yeats and others were contemplating his legacy; and through Deutsch, the decades immediately following his death. This biographical and critical framework allows for an assessment of influence as both direct and active – in the physical presence of the living (or recently dead) poet – and poetic and allusive, in the shadowing of the poet’s works in the works of the poets who follow him. But the story necessarily begins with the moment(s) that Yeats’s writings were first introduced to his American readers.

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