Spring 1949 • Vol. XI No. 2 Book ReviewsApril 1, 1949 |

Artist Shining through His Vehicles

Yeats: The Man And The Masks by Richard Ellmann. Macmillan. $5.00 Yeats may help to give a new direction to literary criticism. Whether "Yeats" in the preceding sentence should refer to his specific critical thought, his general convictions, or his personal career is the point at issue. The Yeatsian answer is that Yeats embraces all three. The argument for the new direction runs this way: The main successful form of modern criticism has concentrated on the work of art as such, ruling out all irrelevancies. Yeats has admittedly produced works of art. Yet where does his art reside? Not solely in the technical manipulation of words, since unfortunately for the theoretical purists, words have referents and thereby become tangled with living. Yeats uses the limited experiences of his private life—a pern mill in Sligo, the revolutionary fanaticism of Maud Gonne, the Municipal Gallery controversy, Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee—as materials for poems that seek stability and universa

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