ENG 340 Studies in in Individual Authors |
Two Kinsmen: William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound
William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound were close friends for a time, living a portion of each year in Stone Cottage in the Sussex countryside (1913-1916): Yeats, the already distinguished Irish poet, and Pound, 20 years Yeats’ junior, the brash and brilliant American émigré. Together, they would become two of the principal architects of international Modernism. They shared a dream of poetry as a high and sacred calling and would produce some of the 20th century’s most memorable verse. Their years together at Stone Cottage proved to be a crucible for Modernism, and helped move Pound from his rather dreamy-eyed Victorianism to a tougher and often satiric mode of poetry. Both poets continued to develop, and both would engage the broken history of the twentieth century more and more deeply. Yeats’ poetry grew more vigorous and passionate as he aged, while Pound’s grew more fractured, but no less ambitious. Pound became the greatest translator of poetry into English and the author of a vast, difficult epic, The Cantos. Yeats simply became the greatest poet in English of the past century. In this course, conceived in honor of the centennial of Pound’s brief tenure at Wabash (1907-1908), we will trace the development of both poets’ work and the formal and thematic connections between them.