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Title: Yeat's prose and its engagements with certain aspects of Victorian science
Author: Edwards, J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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My thesis explore the status of Yeats's prose writing within his overall oeuvre, and examines what those prose writings tell us about his relationship to certain aspects of Victorian Science. The thesis challenges the notion that Yeat's curiosity regarding chemistry, physics, and various branches of natural history ended with his childhood. It also question the idea that Yeats's early reading in the works of the principal Victorian materialists provides an adequate genealogy for his later, supposedly-unequivocal commitment to eugenics and fascism. The thesis focuses on two main periods of Yeats's career, 1885 to 1903, and 1916 to 1930. In the first period, I focus upon his ephemeral journalism, mystical writings, upon folklore since these are rarely considered by his critics, and I explore the considerable presence therein of various mid- to late-Victorian ideas and images derived from the work of the geologist Sir Charles Lyell, the Victorian physicist John Tyndall, the evolutionary theorists Charles Darwin, T.H. Huxley, and Ernst Haeckel, the evolutionary biologist and sociologist Herbert Spencer, and the quack degenerationist Max Nordau. In the second half of the thesis, I turn my attention to the prose Yeats published between 1916 and 1930, focusing on the first two volumes of his Autobiographies: Reveries Over Childhood and Youth (1916) and The Trembling of the Veil (1922), and on Yeats's two major mystical works, Per Amica Silentia Lunae (1917) and the 1925 edition of A. Vision. In the later period, I examine how Yeats retrospectively represents the earlier period and material, and I consider the ways in which he engages with a variety of newer scientific discourses including the various theories of eugenics and genetics then beginning to circulate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available