Degree Year

1990

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

Keywords

William Blake, W.B. Yeats

Abstract

The first significant evidence of Blake's influence on Yeats was the three volume edition of Blake's works published by Bernard Quarich and edited by Richard Ellis and W. B. Yeats in 1893. Within the history of Blakean criticism, the volume is unique. It is the product of Ellis and Yeats's occult viewpoints combined with enthusiastic but imperfect scholarship. The first two interpretative volumes of the edition, entitled "The System" and "The Meaning," include extreme restatements of other nineteenth-century interpretations, as well as several disposable ideas that reveal more about the editors' viewpoints than Blake's own. Among the most outlandish is their claim that Blake actually was Irish, an interpretation based more on Yeats' nationalism than external evidence. The third volume, entitled "The Works," takes great liberties with the Blakean text, rewriting and "improving" substantial sections of Blake's corpus. On the other hand, the Quarich edition was the first widely printed anthology that included exact reproductions of the entire plates to several longer poems in addition to the text, as they had originally been published.

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