Northern Illinois University Press

Beyond Byzantium

The Last Phase of Yeats's Career

Arra M. Garab

Beyond Byzantium explores the relationship between existential awareness and artistic vitality in Yeats's poetry subsequent to "Sailing to Byzantium." Following Yeats's long flight to that "holy city" of art and artifice that so exquisitely mirrors more than a century of romantic yearning for transcendence, the author tracks the aged poet beyond Byzantium "to realms not of sages and gold but of unfinished men and the dross of their mortal pain." In this time-bound world of "the dying generations" the speakers of Words for Music Perhaps, Supernatural Songs, and Last Poems play out the drama of their mortality, and it is in this world that Yeats, after more than forty years of fanciful sailing, found his final metaphysical bearing.

This study shows that "wholeness" is the condition to which Yeats ultimately "wrought both his life and work and their intriguing tangle." The lyrics written beyond Byzantium reveal a counterbalancing tendency, a compulsion to encompass what previously he had ignored or denounced. In so doing, Garab concludes, "Yeats painfully came to derive more significant meaning from the experience of being human."

(1969) 148 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-012-7
cloth $31.00

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Time of Turbulence
One: Contemplations of Time
Two: The Living World
Three: Unfashionable Gyres
Four: Tragic Gaiety
Five: The Plain of Lir
Six: Times of Glory
Seven: Fabulous Artifice
Conclusion: Reconciliation with Time
Works Cited

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-012-7
cloth $31.00