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Writing Modern Ireland$
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Catherine E Paul

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082693.001.0001

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date: 16 January 2019

“The Old Moon-Phaser”: Yeats, Auden, and MacNeice

“The Old Moon-Phaser”: Yeats, Auden, and MacNeice

(p.174) “The Old Moon-Phaser”: Yeats, Auden, and MacNeice
Writing Modern Ireland

Jonathan Allison

Liverpool University Press

This essay explores the relationships between W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, and W. B. Yeats, with particular emphasis on how they grappled with what it means to be modern, the role of belief in poetry, the place of politics, and what kind of language is appropriate to poetry. MacNeice referred to Yeats as “the old moon-phaser,” a phrase coined in a letter he wrote while completing his book on Yeats in 1939. MacNeice and Auden took Yeats very seriously, and whatever misgivings they felt about aspects of his work, expressed deep admiration for him. Auden would later become disillusioned and suspicious of the extent to which he had been influenced by Yeats, but MacNeice did not.

Keywords:   poetry, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, W. B. Yeats, belief, politics

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