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A path from romanticism to modernism.

The stylistic evolution of Yeats’ travels through several stages across his career. Initially as a young poet, Yeats wrote much literary ornate verse. From his first publication in 1885 he’d been much influenced by the pre-Raphaelites. A group of artists and poets, the pre-Raphaelites shared a conviction that art had become corrupt during the Renaissance, beginning with Raphael, and was in decline there after. With their sentimental and dreamy idilic view of the world, they were an important influence on Yeats' first poetic efforts. Yeats’ also held an enduring admiration for Blake, which aided his style with a rugged simplicity . A typical poem of this period is the freely romantic “Lake Isle of Innisfree.”

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There's midnight all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet' s wings.

This thick, sugary, praise is highly typical of Yeats’ early poetry and his inherited spirit of the general romantic style. At this time, 1890, Yeats’ himself was still in his twenties, his imagination still held the possibilities of delicate beauty and spontaneous song. Yeats' poetics became fixed heavily in lyric tradition during this early part of his career and late era of romanticism. Inspite of war experience and the darkening of his songs, their musicality would be retained.

Yeats’ work began its evolution from the pond of romantics by becoming harder and more realistic. Personal and professional movements in his life were much the cause. Maud Gonne, an Irish actress, who was a long time love interest of Yeats, married a Major John MacBride leaving Yeats deeply wounded . The romantic pond from which much of his early poetry spawned became dry. Youthful praise stripped away, he turned to heartless speculation of severe...

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