Establishing Influence

  • Noreen Doody


This chapter explores influence through the early personal relationship between Yeats and Wilde. As a young man, Yeats admired Wilde’s intellect, wit and suave personality, and Wilde responded with kindness and generosity to his shy younger countryman. Their shared nationality and interests increased the sense of affinity and kinship between them. Wilde imparted confidence to Yeats at a time when he had most need of it, and invited him into his literary discourse.

Yeats was highly susceptible to the influence of the visual image. He was deeply impressed by Wilde’s image, which affected his lifelong sculpting of his own image.

Harold Bloom notes that the younger poet must usurp his precursor’s position, and Yeats strikes out for individuation from Wilde by implying the superiority of his own work. However, Yeats never lost his feelings of gratitude and affection for Wilde nor extricated his imagination from the influence of Wilde’s image and ideas which continued to play forever within his creative consciousness.



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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen Doody
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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