While it has been omitted by numerous critics in their otherwise comprehensive readings of Yeats’s oeuvre, “Beautiful Lofty Things” has been placed among the mythical poems, partly in accordance with Yeats’s own intention; in a letter to his wife, he suggested that “Lapis Lazuli, the poem called ‘To D. W.’ ‘Beautiful Lofty Things,’ ‘Imitated from the Japanese’ & ‘Gyres’ . . . would go well together in a bunch.” The poem has been inscribed in the Yeats canon as registering a series of fleeting epiphanies of the mythical in the mundane. However, “Beautiful Lofty Things,” evocative of a characteristically Yeatsian employment of myth though it certainly is, seems at the same time to fuse Yeats’s quite earthly preoccupations. It is here argued that the poem is organized around a tightly woven matrix of figures that comprise Yeats’s idea of the Irish nation as a “poetical culture.” Thus the position of the lyric in the poet’s oeuvre deserves to be shifted from periphery towards an inner part of his cultural and political ideas of the time. Indeed, the poem can be viewed as one of Yeats’s central late comments on the state of the nation and, significantly, one in which he is able to proffer a humanist strategy for developing a culturally modern state rather than miring his argument in occasionally over-reckless display of abhorrence of modernity
Bell, Vereen M. Yeats and the Logic of Formalism. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 2006. Print.
Brown, Terrence. The Life of W. B. Yeats: A Critical Biography. London: Blackwell, 2001. Print.
Childs, Donald. Modernism and Eugenics: Woolf, Eliot, Yeats and the Culture of Degeneration. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. Print.
Cullingford, Elizabeth. Yeats, Ireland and Fascism. New York: New York UP, 1981. Print.
Ellmann, Richard. Yeats. The Man and the Masks. New York: Norton, 2000. Print.
Foster, R. F. W. B. Yeats: A Life, I: The Apprentice Mage. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.
---. W. B. Yeats: A Life, II: The Arch-Poet. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print.
Gonne MacBride, Maud. A Servant of the Queen. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1983. Print.
Gonne, Maud, and W. B. Yeats. The Gonne-Yeats Letters 1893-1938. Ed. Anna MacBride White and A. Norman Jeffares. New York: Norton 1993. Print.
Gregory, Augusta. Lady Gregory’s Journals. Vol. 1. Ed. Daniel J. Murphy. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. Print.
Hassett, Joseph M. W. B. Yeats and the Muses. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
Jeffares, Norman A. A Commentary on The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1968. Print.
Kelly, John. A W. B. Yeats Chronology. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2003. Print.
McKenna, Bernard. “Yeats, On the Boiler, the Aesthetics of Cultural Disintegration and the Program for Renewal ‘of Our own Rich Experience.’” Journal of Modern Literature 35.4 (2012): 73-90. Print.
Mills Harper, Margaret. Wisdom of Two. The Spiritual and Literary Collaboration of George and W. B. Yeats. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.
Ross, David A. Critical Companion to W. B. Yeats: A Literary Reference to his Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2009. Print.
Soloway, Richard A. Demography and Degeneration: Eugenics and the Declining Birthrate in Twentieth-Century Britain. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1990. Print.
Torchiana, Donald. W. B. Yeats and Georgian Ireland. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1966. Print.