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WB Yeats, Ireland and the Modern World - Professor Ronan McDonald

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Uploaded on Jul 24, 2011

The ANU Centre for European Studies & the Embassy of Ireland hosted this public lecture by Professor Rónán McDonald as part of its program of activities for the Yeats Travelling Exhibition. "We Irish, born into that ancient sect But thrown upon this filthy modern tide" "The Statues"

Yeats's lines from his late poem 'The Statues' indicates two abiding poles of his work -- a concern with Ireland and a tremendous sense of international modernity. Hinging between the national and the international, this lecture seeks to discuss some of the major themes in Yeats's poetry across his career. It looks at how he responds to the intellectual and political crises of his times -- the rise of Darwinism in his youth, his interest in spiritualism and the occult, the varieties of nationalism, the wars and political turmoils in Ireland and Europe in the early twentieth century. Combining a broad thematic lecture with some discussion of individual poems, this lecture addresses the significance of Yeats as both a giant of Irish letters and a major modernist poet.

Rónán McDonald is Professor in the School of English, Media and the Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales. His research interests include: Irish society, culture and politics; modern Irish literature; modernism; Samuel Beckett; literary criticism and theory; ideas of cultural value; the future of the humanities.

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