chapter  1
40 Pages

Sincerity and the Early Thought and Work

ByFrank Kinahan

The concept of sincerity occupied a central place in Yeats's personal system, with other aspects of his life and thought turning slow orbits around it. Interesting in their own right, Yeats's strivings after sincerity are yet more interesting for the light they shed on the poet's habits of mind, the particular tilt of his vision. Vocation, chosen mate, country, and form of belief: these are universal areas of concern. A prefatory overview of the early work and thought needs to consider first the motive forces behind this keenness for merger, and then the ways in which the thought of his times encouraged Yeats to believe that a merger might be effected, and then a young man's sometimes rebuffed and sometimes successful attempts to bring that merger about in his life and in his art. Yeats's development as an artist was a relatively steady one, steady at least in the sense that he had no annus mirabilis.