Yeats and Revisionism

Yeats and Revisionism

A Half Century of the Dancer and the Dance

By Daniel O'Hara

Anthem symploke Studies in Theory

The books collects Daniel T. O’Hara’s half century of essays and review-essays on Yeats and his major poetry an drama and how leading critics and theorists have sought to revise their reception for their periods of time and indeed for the future. Its aim is to trace a critical history of the last fifty years, even as it opens the prospects for the future of critical reading of Yeats and modern poetry.

EPUB, 178 Pages


November 2022

£25.00, $40.00

PDF, 178 Pages


November 2022

£25.00, $40.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
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  • Table of Contents
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About This Book


"O’hara takes a lifetime of reading Yeats as fertile ground from which he nourishes an appreciation of poetics as something richer with human experience than a mere academic theory can muster. O’hara writes with a poet’s passion for language. Here we have a bravura record of the kind of engagement with literary work that proves the life of the critic to be as vital a source of creative imagination as the artist whom he honors." —Alan Singer, Professor Emeritus of English, English Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

"Daniel O'Hara, one of our leading theorists and critics, draws upon the knowledge and erudition produced by a career-long study of William Bulter Yeats to illuminate the last fifty years of literary theory and criticism. Yeats becomes the key to unlocking new understandings of everything from globalization, deconstruction and Lacanian analysis to shifts in the status of the literary itself, and it casts a new light on Yeats' celebrated oeuvre. It is a fascinating and endlessly rewarding book." –Professor Christopher Breu, Illinois State University, USA.

“This book is O’Hara’s culminating work on Yeats and is a comprehensive study of Yeats’s poetry revisits and reevaluates now-canonical understanding of Yeats’ work, while giving fresh and in-depth consideration to contemporary avenues of critical theory to produce innovative interpretation and cultural context. It is a remarkable achievement and a must-read for all who study Yeats, Modernism, critical theory, and/or revisionism.” – Gina Masucci MacKenzie, Associate Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, Holy Family University, USA.

"O'Hara is one of the greatest literary critics of our generation. His fifty-year dance with Yeats is a breathtaking and illuminating commentary on the major shifts and stakes in literary studies since poststructuralism. No dancing in the dark here!" – Jeffrey R. Di Leo, Professor of English and Philosophy, University of Houston—Victoria, USA.

"This amazing selection from a lifelong passion shows O’Hara’s brilliant theoretical inquiries anchored by a continuing reflection on the great poetry of Yeats, but Yeats provides no harbor, rather plunges the inquiring critic into terrifying depths, the reader following, grateful for O’Hara’s lucidity." –Jonathan Arac (he/him/his), Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English, emeritus, University of Pittsburgh, Founding Director, Humanities Center, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, USA.

"Yeats’s visionary poetry inspired his critic-commentators in the latter half of the twentieth century to re-invent criticism as a visionary mode equal to the poet’s. Daniel O’Hara closely chronicles and brilliantly articulates what this inspiration has meant, and what it portends for a renewal of poetics in the present and the future. Summoning all readers to join the revisionary work, O’Hara’s book is vital literary history and an indispensable critical meditation." –Robert L. Caserio, Professor Emeritus of English, Comparative Literature, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA.

 "Over the last five decades, Daniel T. O’Hara has been among our most astute critics of modern and postmodern literature, criticism, and theory. In this scintillating volume, O’Hara returns to his roots in Yeats’s poetry, the subject of his first monograph (Tragic Knowledge [1981]) and one he has revisited throughout his career, in order to show how Yeats’s poetics informs revisionary critical theory and practice in our time.The result is a magisterialcombination ofnuanced close reading, critical reflection, historical contextualization and rigorous theoretical speculation." — Robert T. Tally Jr., Texas State University, Texas State University, USA.

"O’Hara’s fascinating essays use Yeats to examine the history of literary criticism and theory as well as romanticism and modernism. Rarely does a book on a single author demonstrate such range and coherence. Rarely is academic writing so accessible. Yeats and Revisionism is essential reading for any student of literature. " - Daniel Rosenberg Nutters, Pennsylvania State University - Brandywine, Pennsylvania.

Author Information

Daniel T. O’Hara, long time review editor of Boundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture (1984–2014) and currently contributing editor to symploke: a journal of theory in culture and advisory editor for American Book Review, is the author and editor/co-editor of fifteen books in critical theory and modernist literature, most recently the author of Virginia Woolf and the Modern Sublime: the Invisible Tribunal (Palgrave Pivots: 2015) and co-editor (with Donald E. Pease and Michelle Martin) of Humanist Criticism and the Secular Imperative: The William V. Spanos Reader (Northwestern University Press: 2015).


Anthem symploke Studies in Theory

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Preface; Introduction: Dancer and Dance: Yeats’s Romantic Modernism and Critical Revisionism; 1. The Irony of Tradition in W.B. Yeats’s Autobiography: Dialectical Hermeneutics Beyond the New Criticism; 2. The Specialty of Self-Victimization: On Antithetical Revisionism; 3. Yeats in Theory: Blackmur, Bloom, De Man and Hartman; 4. The Divisions of Yeats Studies Continued; 5. Modernism’s Global Identity: On the Dogmatic Imagination in Yeats, Freud and Beyond; 6. Yeats with Lacan: Toward the Real Modernism; 7. The Spirit Medium: Yeats, Quantum Visions and Recent Lacanian Studies; 8. And All the Ceremonies to Come: Of High Modernism, Visionary Violence and Post-Marxism; Afterword: The Reader in Yeats; Bibliography; Index


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