Romantic Reimaginings is a BARS blog series which seeks to explore the ways in which texts of the Romantic era continue to resonate. The blog is curated by Eleanor Bryan. If you would like to publish an article in the series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today on the blog, Amanda Blake Davis discusses Auden, MacNeice, Yeats, and Shelley’s West Wind.
B. Shelley, fair copy of Ode to the West Wind Shelfmark: MS. Shelley adds. e. 12 (pp. 62-63) Credit: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (via Shelley’s Ghost )
‘Like Yeats’s poetry’, Edna Longley writes, ‘MacNeice’s descends from the non-Wordsworthian branch of Romanticism’, and one of MacNeice’s greatest Romantic influences is Shelley, who is invariably filtered through Yeats. Following Yeats, for whom Prometheus Unbound was ‘a sacred book’, MacNeice exalts Prometheus Unbound as ‘one of my sacred books’ and recounts how he ‘swilled the rhythms of Shelley, the sweet champagne of his wishful thinking and schoolboy anger, his Utopias of amethyst and starlight’. ‘What we wanted was “realism”’, MacNeice writes of the ‘Auden Group’, ‘but—so the paradox goes on—we wanted it for romantic reasons’. MacNeice publicly disavows Shelley in his study of Yeats through …read more