Winter 1945 • Vol. VII No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1945 |

The Aestheticism of W. B. Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose Perfection of the life, or of the work, And if it take the second must refuse A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark. . . . No question is of greater moment for the understanding of modern poetry than that of the relationship of art to life. The various schools and movements of the last hundred years have all been conditioned in one way or another by the disparity existing between the poet's private world and the public world in which he is situated as a social being and which, with the expansion of mechanical civilization, has increasingly separated itself from the private and personal values. In this way all later movements may be seen as offshoots of the Romantic Revival, which was the initial movement of the creative mind in its attempt deliberately to dissociate itself from the realm of collective values and to center itself upon the personal life of the individual. After the romantics the movement known in France as Symbolism took

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