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A Millennium's Journey Into "the Deep Heart's Core" (Critical Essay)

Yeats Eliot Review 2009, Spring, 26, 1

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William Butler Yeats" "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" and Green Martyrdom Most readers agree that the persona in William Butler Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is longing for and celebrating his mental return to a bucolic setting, despite his physical presence in a modern city. First published in 1893 in Yeats' second poetry collection, The Rose, the poem reflects the isolation and exile that the poet felt in his surroundings in London. He would feel more at home on a comparatively deserted island, Innisfree, likely based on the island of the same name in County Sligo, near where he grew up. Through his mind's journeying to this place, where he can be alone and attain "some peace" (ln. 5), the persona of the poem hopes to fulfill a vocation that he "hear[s] in the deep heart's core" (ln. 12). This poem carries universal meaning as a statement of an individual isolated by the hustle and bustle of modern urban life who wishes to return to the natural world and therefore to return to himself, in a Wordsworthian sense. However, the poem also has a particularly Irish flavor in its references to the medieval Irish practice of green martyrdom.

A Millennium's Journey Into "the Deep Heart's Core" (Critical Essay)
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 March 2009
  • Publisher: Murphy Newsletter Services
  • Print Length: 8 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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