Chapter 10. Stylistics and “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by W.B. Yeats

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This chapter will provide a detailed stylistic analysis of ‘He Wishes for theCloths of Heaven’ by W. B. Yeats. The analysis will combine of a range of analyticalmethods, most of which will be of the ‘good old steam stylistics’ variety, asRon Carter has called them, e.g. lexical, grammatical and phonetic structure inrelation to foregrounding analysis; but other methods of analysis will also beused, e.g. cognitive metaphor and possible/textual worlds theory. At the coreof the analysis will be a discussion of how, and why, Yeats makes the cloths ofheaven in the poem seem intangible, mystical, even, and the role which deviantsemantic structure and also deviant parallel list constructions inside a particularnoun phrase play in the creation of this cognitive effect. Part of the reason forthe multifarious approach to analysis is to compare the usefulness of the variouskinds of methodology for the stylistic analysis of poetry. Attention will also bepaid to different possible interpretations/readings of the poem and what thiscan tell us about the nature of effective interpretation.


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