History of Literature Episode #56 – Shelley, HD, Yeats, Frost, Stevens – The Poetry of Ruins (with Professor Bill Hogan)


In 1818, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley published his classic poem “Ozymandias,” depicting the fallen statue of a once-powerful king whose inscription “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” has long since crumbled into the desert. A hundred years later, a set of Modernist poets revisited the subject of ruins, injecting the poetic trope with some surprising new ideas. Professor Bill Hogan of Providence College joins Jacke for a look at the treatment of ruins in the poetry of H.D. (1886-1961), William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Robert Frost (1874-1963), and Wallace Stevens (1879-1955).


 Works Discussed:

“Ozymandias” (1818) – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“The Walls Do Not Fall” (1944) – H.D.

“The Tower” (1928) – W.B. Yeats

“The Directive” (1946) – Robert Frost

“The Anecdote of the Jar” (1919) and “The Man on the Dump” (1939) – Wallace Stevens

Show Notes: 

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Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).


One thought on “History of Literature Episode #56 – Shelley, HD, Yeats, Frost, Stevens – The Poetry of Ruins (with Professor Bill Hogan)

  1. The professor’s voice sounds very familiar. I think he is also on YouTube talking about Keats. I enjoyed that very much and learned some things I did not know.

    This discussion made me think of the song by Joanna Newsom called ‘Sapokanikan’ that came out last year- about the origins of New York City and their ultimate demise.


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