Ashland University Professor of English Dr. Deborah Fleming will give a presentation about her new book, titled “Towers of Myth and Stone: Yeats’s Influence on Robinson Jeffers” on Monday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Dwight Schar College of Education on the AU campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Fleming’s book, which was published by the University of South Carolina Press, was released in mid-September.
In this critical study of the influence of W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) on the poetry and drama of Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), Fleming examines similarities in imagery, landscape, belief in eternal recurrence, use of myth, distrust of rationalism and dedication to tradition.
Although Yeats's and Jeffers's styles differ widely, "Towers of Myth and Stone" examines how the two men shared a vision of modernity, rejected contemporary values in favor of traditions (some of their own making), and created poetry that sought to change those values.
“Jeffers's well-known opposition to modernist poetry forced him for decades to the margins of critical appraisal where he was seen as an eccentric without aesthetic content, yet both Yeats and Jeffers formulated social and poetic philosophies that continue to find relevance in critical and cultural theory,” Fleming said.
Engaging Yeats's work enabled Jeffers to develop a related, though distinct, sense of what themes and subject matter were best suited for poetic endeavor, according to Fleming.