Thursday, September 7th, 2017...6:33 pmJanel

On Yeats’ “The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland.”

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  1. The longest of the three poems we’ll focus on during Friday’s class, this poem seems most invested in developing the detail/description of the narrative or story being told.
  2. The  title centers the dreaming man as the poem’s key focus, and the body of the poem furthers this effort by beginning every stanza with “he.”
  3. Specifically, the first two words of each stanza highlight the dreaming man and his actions so as to reflect the story’s chronology: “he stood, he wandered, he mused, he slept.”
  4. The third-person point-of-view also works to evoke a storytelling tradition.
  5. Language in the first stanza is dreamy and majestic i.e. the personification of the earth via “her stony care” and of “Time,” as signaled through capitalization.
  6. Ireland is referred to as a “woven world-forgotten isle.” The alliteration of the first two words emphasizes this detail.
  7. The solemn nature of the poem’s final stanza is a turn away from the dreamy quality of the earlier parts of the poem.
  8. Personification of silence–and the characterization of it as ‘old’–draws my attentiont o: “Old silence bids its chosen race rejoice” in stanza 3.
  9. The poem’s final line, “The man has found no comfort in the grave.” illuminates the effect of the poem’s title and the way audiences might imagine the man’s dream of and relationship to faeryland.
  10. God is referenced to directly twice in the poem’s final stanza.


  • I like your point about how each stanza starts with “he” and how that works to emphasize the narrative focus. I think it is easy to get lost in the abstract complexities of Yeats’ words. The reader may lose track of the plot at times and the repetition of “he” keeps the poem grounded and reminds the reader that he or she is in fact reading a story. Even if the plot transforms into emotive sounds and expressions it always comes back to let you know what happens next.

  • I liked the connected you made to the actions the man takes and the chronology of the poem, it was an observation I had trouble putting into words. I also thought your observation of the characterization of silence was interesting, as Yeats makes a point about the ancient nature of the Celt and Ireland with these details. Your reading of the poem is very detail oriented, and I could follow your thoughts well in the small, casual form of a blog post.

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 11th, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Janel–great start to the blog. I’m with Kaila on the value of your map of actions onto narrative timeline in the poem, too. I wonder if you might want to turn your emphasis on *story*–and the reanimation / reformation of story–into the germ of an essay? Also: what do you make of the poem’s depiction of “the man’s” burial?

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