You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The Poetry of W. B. Yeats

2. Easter, 1916

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we look at Yeats' most famous poem: Easter, 1916. As we move through the poem, we consider Yeats' complicated relationship with the rebels, his attempts to understand the impact of what they did ('And what if excess of love / Bewildered them till they died?'), as well as his own role in memorialising the events of the Easter Rising ('I write it out in a verse—').


In this course, Dr Peter Howarth (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the poetry of W. B. Yeats through six key poems: 'An Irish Airman Foresees his Death', 'Easter, 1916', 'Leda and the Swan', 'No Second Troy', 'The Cold Heaven', and 'Sailing to Byzantium'. As we move through the course, we think about why Yeats wrote the poetry he did – looking in particular at his passion for Ireland, his obsession with Maud Gonne, and his interest in philosophy and the occult.


Dr Peter Howarth came to Queen Mary in 2007, after lecturing at the University of Nottingham (2000-2007) and completing a PhD at Cambridge in 2000. His first book, British Poetry in the Age of Modernism (CUP, 2006) explored the poetics of non-modernism in the twentieth century, and his teaching and writing have continued to explore the relation of form, social setting and historical time ever since.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Howarth, P. (2018, August 15). The Poetry of W. B. Yeats - Easter, 1916 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Howarth, P. "The Poetry of W. B. Yeats – Easter, 1916." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

Get instant access to over 6,800 lectures