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Perfection of Art in Yeats and Joyce: “Leda and the Swan” and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Rhee Beau La
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Abstract

This paper discusses perfectionist writers W. B. Yeats and James Joyce. Tocompare how they worked slowly and creatively toward completing a work, I taketwo works by Yeats and Joyce, two of their best works. Yeats tends to work onhis poems and plays continuously, even after they have been published. This paperlooks at the rewriting of “Leda and the Swan” in several different stages, in orderto see how the poem gather intensity and art, as an exemplification of what he didas a literary artist. Yeats’s attitude toward art and his literary style can be comparedto the traits of art, and his literary style can be compared to that of the youngartist depicted in A Portrait. In fact the young artist Stephen can be seen as Joycethe artist, and the paper discusses Stephen who grows linguistically and artisticallycompetent. Yeats and Joyce are not merely Romantic writers; they were determinedto develop new art and bring it to the highest perfection. And indeed they haveachieved it in their works respectively.

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