Ober, Warren U.||Baker, Orville
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of English
Keats; John; 1795-1821; Wordsworth; William; 1770-1850; Yeats; W. B. (William Butler); 1865-1939
This paper concerns three Romantic poets and the women they loved. It analyzes the reactions of each of the poets to the object of his love, and, secondly, it attempts to determine the effect of this relationship upon the poetic powers of each man. William Wordsworth felt a passionate love for Annette Vallon, the French girl who bore his child. Separated from Annette and his daughter for nearly ten years as a result of the war between England and France, Wordsworth experienced feelings of guilt and remorse which had a definite effect upon the quality of the poetry which he produced. One poem in particular, "Vaudracour And Julia," is closely related to Wordsworth's personal experience. John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne the first time he saw her, and, though the two soon became engaged, happiness eluded them. Keats was suffering from tuberculosis, which, in the process of killing him, snuffed out his creative powers and gave him a passionate, uneasy, and jealous desire for Fanny. Keats' love, jealousy, and sorrow are shaping influences in such poems as "Bright Star," "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," and "Lamia." These works of Keats give a clear idea of the young poet's troubled existence before his untimely death in Italy closed the chapter of his love for Fanny Brawne. William Butler Yeats loved the tall, beautiful Maud Gonne, who rejected him as a suitor on numerous occasions. In an effort to win Maud, Yeats entered Into the Irish political movement with her and sought her assistance in the establishment of literary societies. He even wrote a play, Cathleen Ni Houlihan, as a vehicle for her, but, in spite of all his efforts, she would never become his wife. The poet was shocked when Maud Gonne married another man, Major John MacBride, and the turbulence of Yeats' feelings comes forth in much of his poetry. He and Maud remained friends for a lifetime, and she continued to be an influential force upon his writings. This paper examines the thoughts and actions of these men - all great Romantics writing at different times, compares their reactions to the emotion of love, and attempts to trace in their lives and works the influence of the women whom they loved.
DeBeir, Lory J., "The influence of Annette Vallon, Fanny Brawne, and Maud Gonne upon the poets who loved them: William Wordsworth, John Keats, and William Butler Yeats" (1963). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 5909.
v, 100 pages
Northern Illinois University
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