Buy This Book
Yeats and Violence is a work of criticism prompted by Michael Wood’s personal response to certain lines of W. B. Yeats’s ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, the great Irish poet’s apocalyptic meditation on Black and Tan violence, and a Europe shattered by war. ‘Those lines, particularly the passage beginning “Now days are dragon-ridden; the nightmare/Rides upon sleep . . .”’, Wood says, ‘have never left my mind since I first read them, and seemed to be asking me to do something about them that I was too lazy or troubled or dazzled to do.’ Using the poem to investigate Yeats’s occultism, his politics and his cyclical view of history, Wood has written a book about the capacity of poetry to contain violent disorder, and its propensity to fracture with the strain.