Remaking Song and Self: W. B. Yeats's Approach to Remediation in 1908

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In 1908, William Butler Yeats included this paratextual quatrain as an exergue to the second volume of his Collected Works in Verse & Prose: The friends that have it I do wrong When ever I remake a song, Should know what issue is at stake: It is myself that I remake. As Peter McDonald has noticed, “1908 marked the first and last volume appearance of these lines in Yeats’s lifetime” with the paradoxical consequence that “these words about making a canon, and in the process making and remaking a self, are not therefore, strictly speaking, canonical”. In my paper, I’ll examine this quatrain (on the threshold of what is conventionally known as Yeats’s “middle period” or the like) which both formulates an equivalence between song and self and confirms that Yeats’s all-embracing “remaking” was his lifelong “literary philosophy” and textual practice: he kept practising it all along his creative career in his texts, whatever their literary genre may be.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteRemediating Imagination. Literatures and Cultures in English from the Renaissance to the Postcolonial
EditorGioia Angeletti, Giovanna Buonanno, Diego Saglia
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016


  • 1908
  • W. B. Yeats
  • poetry and music
  • remediation


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