The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts

The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts

By: Ronald Schuchard (author)Hardback

Special OrderSpecial Order item not currently available. We'll try and order for you.


Recovering a lost literary movement that was the most consuming preoccupation of W. B. Yeats's literary life and the most integral to his poetry and drama, Ronald Schuchard's The Last Minstrels provides an historical, biographical, and critical reconstruction of the poet's lifelong attempt to restore an oral tradition by reviving the bardic arts of chanting and musical speech. From the beginning of his career Yeats was determined to return the 'living voice' of the poet from exile to the centre of culture - on its platforms, stages, and streets - thereby establishing a spiritual democracy in the arts for the non-reading as well as the reading public. Schuchard's study enhances our understanding of Yeats's cultural nationalism, his aims for the Abbey Theatre, and his dynamic place in a complex of interrelated arts in London and Dublin. With a wealth of new archival materials, the narrative intervenes in literary history to show the attempts of Yeats and Florence Farr to take the 'new art' of chanting to Great Britain, America, and Europe, and it reveals for the first time the influence of their auditory poetics on the visual paradigm of the Imagists. The penultimate chapter examines the adjustments Yeats made for his movement during the war, including chanting and other adaptations from Noh drama for his dance plays and choruses, until the practice of his 'unfashionable art' became dormant in the 1920s before the restless rise of realism. The final chapter resurrects his heroic effort in the 1930s to reunite poetry and music and reconstitute his dream of a spiritual democracy through the medium of public broadcasting.

About Author

Ronald Schuchard is Goodrich C. White Professor of English at Emory University. He has written widely on modern literature, particularly on W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot. He is a former director of the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo and has co-edited three volumes of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats (OUP). He has edited Eliot's Clark and Turnball Lectures as The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (Faber), and he is author of the award-winning Eliot's Dark Angel (OUP). In 2006 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to begin editing the multi-volume Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot.


Preface ; 1. Bardic Forefathers ; 2. London Minstrels ; 3. Dublin Minstrels ; 4. Minstrels and Masquers ; 5. Dancers and Choruses ; 6. A Spiritual Democracy ; 7. Minstrel Abroad ; 8. 'As Regarding Rhythm': Minstrels and Imagists ; 9. Modern Minstrels ; 10. The Last Minstrel ; Appendix 1: Florence Farr, 'The Chanting of Poems' (1905) ; Appendix 2: Florence Farr, 'Music and Words' (1906) ; Appendix 3: Edmund Dulac, 'Music and Poetry' (1937)

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780199230006
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 498
  • ID: 9780199230006
  • weight: 980
  • ISBN10: 0199230005

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly