Touche on Yeats. But still I don't think those words apply. Early Yeats is
sentimental but in a very different way; it is not merely conventional
cliches and formulae. And whether the voices and myths are silly (if that is
what you refer to) depends on how you read them. One could call Weston
silly or Prufrock's anxieties about being called thin. But they are not. I
think it is in both cases the intellect that does make it different, though I
will have to think to articulate it. Late Yeats is very different: I cannot
imagine Crazy Jane called any of those things. And patriotism is not
always simplistic even if it may be misguided. Rupert's is simplistic I
think. It could turn up on a greeting card without seeming out of place. I
can't think of any Yeats--even Innesfree--that could.
But you did push the point. I'll have to think on it.
Date sent: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 20:51:25 +0100
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: INGELBIEN RAPHAEL <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Brooke
To: [log in to unmask]
> I don't think I understand your point here. It appears to be saying
> one puts aside content (patriotic idealism) and tone (sentimentality)
> and intellect (intelligent views), then the "poem" is good or better
> than it seems. I do not understand what a "poem" is--as distinguished
> from rhyming
> if we do not attend to content, tone, and intelligence.
I'll try to illustrate the point with an obvious example: Yeats. He is, of
course, better than Brooke - not quite in the same league. But Yeats was
also patriotic, sentimental, and silly, in turns or at the same time. Does
that mean he is not one of the greatest poets in the language?
Cf. Auden's Elegy and 'The Public vs. Mr W.B. Yeats'. Not that I agree
with all that Auden says in there, but I do grant many of his points.
It's not content, tone (a vague enough term), or intelligence that make
Yeats superior to Brooke. Neither do they explain why 'The Soldier' is
much better than a lot of patriotic doggerel.
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