Wordsworth And Yeats: The Use Of New Historicism

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New historicism is a method of literary criticism that emphasizes the historicity of a text by relating it to the configurations of power, society, or ideology in a given time (Merriam-webster.com, n.d.). Both Wordsworth and Yeats incorporate this stylistic device in some of their poems to reflect the environment around them; the stirring of the Industrial Revolution in the midst of the serenity of nature, as well as the Irish Civil War that was boiling up. Yeats applied the use of New Historicism in the following poems: An Irishman Foresees his Death, September 1913, Adam’s Curse, The Second Coming and Pardon all Fathers. In the first poem, Yeats describes Ireland during its Civil War, through the eyes of a war pilot. He represents the patriotic…show more content…
Another example is the poem “The Second Coming”, whereby Yeats sees the moral ideologies of people taking a turn for the worst and, as being a strong believer in Christianity, hopes that Christ will come as promised. This is evident in lines 9-10: “Surely some revelation is at hand;/Surely the Second Coming is at hand.” (Gill, 2011) Another example of Historicism used is the ideology that was circulating at that time in terms of the occupation of a person. You had to work be working physically and earning a substantial amount for it to be called a job. Yeats showed a disappointment in that ideology in the poem “Adam’s Curse” from lines 10-13: “ For to articulate sweet sounds together/Is to work harder than all these, and yet/ Be thought an idler by the noisy set/ Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen” (Gill, 2011) His disappointment in this ideology was brought about when his ladylove, Maud Gonne, left him to marry an Irish Nationalist. In his early fifties, though, the historicity of the society got to him and he apologized to his ancestors (who were famous “working” people) for not having a family and concentrating only on his poems. This is shown in lines 21-22 in the poem “ Pardon, Old…show more content…
July 13, 1798” is shown through the form of inspiration. This poem talks mostly about the pleasant memories he had when he first visited this place and how he “in spirit, have… turned to thee/sylvan Wye!” (Poetryfoundation.org, n.d.) since he is describing the beauty of a place before the affects of the Industrial Revolution hit it. He looks towards such places for stimulation, as do poets who shared his ideologies of how Nature must be kept intact. The power of the application of his words describing the manner in which nature is alluring would also have an impact on those against the Romantic Movement, ultimately convincing them to come to terms with nature, even through their journey to improvement. This can be seen
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