Natalie Luhrs

Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Jil Larson

Second Advisor

Dr. C.J. Gianarkaris

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Seiler


A gyre, as William Butler Yeats saw it, is two cones that are inextricably connected and dependent upon each other: the base of one is the apex of the other. They rotate in opposite directions, constantly spiraling in and spiraling out. Yeats used this idea of a gyre in his philosophical writings and as a major image in his poetry. The gyre represents the cycles of history, which are always expanding and then collapsing in upon themselves. One can take this idea and apply it to Yeats's own poetry. His interests seem to spiral in and out like a gyre, spinning from a personal concern to a worldly concern and then back to a subjective view at the end of his life. However, his end view, while concerned with his personal feelings, is tempered by the knowledge he had gained through his life, and is therefore less naive than his earlier poetry, where he had been waiting for "the bosom of his fairy bride" ("The Circus Animals' Desertion" 16).

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only