This chapter returns to MacNeice’s reception of the work of Yeats, extending previous accounts of the presence of Yeats’s poetry in MacNeice’s later collections. It shows how MacNeice’s late poetry moves beyond Yeats’s Irish identity and instead engages with Yeats’s thought, inhabiting through a tissue of allusions and echoes a particular Yeatsian terrain: Byzantium. MacNeice’s work interrogates the consolations that Yeats found for art through his cyclical theories of history and Neoplatonic idealism, by exposing them to the chastening implications of the nuclear age—a pervasive anxiety throughout MacNeice’s later work. Yet this critique runs alongside the use MacNeice’s poetry continues to find for the formal resources of Yeats’s poetry. Through devices such as refrain, MacNeice’s work dialectically develops Yeats’s legacy to Irish poetry as one of thought and song. Poetic form not only provides a forum for thought, but also a means for his poetry to keep on thinking.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.