Guidelines for Topics, Reports, and Papers

First Oral Report (15 minutes)

This oral report focuses primarily on necessary background information relevant to the study of Yeats and his poetry, drama, and prose. Your job is to give the students practical background information they can use for reading and studying Yeats and a few practical examples from specific works to demonstrate Yeats's poetic and metaphoric use of this material. In some instances, two people will be assigned the same topic; for those topics, you will be expected to coordinate and collaborate on the oral report, using your Email account for off-campus contacts and discussions. These presentations are oral reports working from notes and not previously written papers read aloud. They should be no longer than fifteen minute for single person reports and slightly longer for collaborative reports. 10% of final grade.

First Paper (8 to 10 pages) Due two weeks after the report.

This ten page paper should be a fuller and formally written presentation and analysis of your report material, a paper which comes critically to grips with Yeats's writing seen in terms of the subject of your report topic. The paper should take into account Yeats's biography and his developing ideas and techniques. The paper will be due two weeks after the oral report and must be shared with the class, either with xerox or email distributed to the class or made available by posting on the Internet. 30% of final grade.

Second Oral Report (10 minutes or less)

For this presentation, you should select the volume of poems--from The Wild Swans at Coole (1919) to Last Poems (1938-1939)--which you plan to work on for your major paper. When we begin class discussion of your volume, you will be expected to give a brief introduction to the major themes and concerns of this particular volume, including any biographical or historical background information pertinent to the study of these poems. In all probability, two people will be assigned the same volume, and you will be expected to confer with your partner by Email and collaborate on the introductory presentation. Remember, however, that we will all have read Unterecker's summary of the assigned volume of poems. 10% of final grade.

Final Paper (20 pages) Due on or before December 10.

This paper should be a formal analysis of your chosen volume which comes to grips with Yeats at a given period and attempts to understand what he is doing in a specific volume of poetry. You should, therefore, focus on Yeats's life and history while he was working on the volume and consider--using the Variorum edition of the poems--any previous versions or major revisions of poems or the order of the poems. You should also consider and comment specifically on any plays or prose of the period and their relation to the volume and its style or content. In your analysis, you should look for central themes and symbols and should consider the transitions from the previous to the present volume, from the present to the next volume, and from poem to poem within the volume. Your paper should not just explicate a series of poems, but should focus on the conception of the volume and its central issues. The paper should be at least twenty pages and should follow the MLA guidelines for scholarly papers. 50% of final grade.

Warren Wedin <>
William Butler Yeats Seminar Homepage
Department of English
California State University, Northridge
August 13, 2002