If an individual author’s works are to be understood or an author written about, one must understand what he has conveyed over the long durée of his/her work.This study will demonstrate the benefit of close textual analysis of the entire poetic works from the compendium of William Butler Yeats. William Butler Yeats is ripe for this form of study given his prolific writing and long writing career. William Butler Yeats’ early works have been subject to harsh criticism, such that T.S. Eliot said that there is, “a line here or there, that a sense of a unique personality can be detected which makes one sit up in excitement and eagerness to learn more about the author’s mind and feelings,” and that his early works were mainly Romantic-esque.
The Goal is to see how the author is self-influenced, that although William Butler Yeats may be unoriginal in his images, originality is not the definition of poetic success. As Victor Shklovsky states, “poets are much more concerned with arranging images than with creating them.” Furthermore, canonization and language creation are regulated by collective thought, that is to say, no individual can canonize his/her work or create his/her own word, without collective approval. Yeats recognized this when he himself said that he wanted his works set for examination across a country.
An author is a part of the critical cycle- understanding the “being” that is the author is essential. Recognizing the multi-dimensionality of human existence, an author cannot be a unitary or stagnant being. Furthermore, a textual analysis of the entireity of a poets’ works may reveal developments and what Charles Mauron calls Des Metaphores Obscendantes. The goal will be to show self-influence and recurring language, images, and themes in the compendium of works.
At the current moment, I am stuck between using software to analyze all of Yeats poetry, or select sections by years. Furthermore, I may want to run the same form of textual analysis on T.S. Eliot’s works.
Poetry is a divine form of expression to me. To me, it is the most intimate and beautiful conveyance of a message. The definition of poetry has been conceived as an appeal to the ear in the purely aesthetic theories of Aristotle and G.W. Lessing to William Wordsworth’s definition of a “spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility,” to being defined in deconstructionist theories as a text which is ambiguous and unreadable. Furthermore it is important to realize as Richard Ellman points out that, “A Poem, even when it begins with an actual experience, distorts, heightens, simplifies, and transmutes, so that we can say only with many qualifications that a given experience inspired a particular verse.”
The tools that I use, will have the effect of combing the texts for the frequency of words, certain pronouns, and language patterns. The hope is that general patterns can be described and that certain images and words will reoccur to a level to consider them to be obessions to the author.
I want to bring back the days of TEXt-BASED analysis and remind Literary Critics, that the Canon is RIPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One need not put on a theoretical lens, or add anything to the compediusm of authors, to say or find something original.