The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats Volume IX by William Butler Yeats
Early Articles and Reviews: Uncollected Articles and Reviews Written Between 1886 and 1900

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The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats, Volume IX: Early Articles and Reviews is part of a fourteen-volume series under the general editorship of eminent Yeats scholars Richard J. Finneran and George Mills Harper. This first complete edition includes virtually all of the Nobel laureate's published work, in authoritative texts with extensive explanatory notes.

Coedited by John P. Frayne and Madeleine Marchaterre, Early Articles and Reviews assembles the earliest examples of Yeats's critical prose, from 1886 to the end of the century -- articles and reviews that were not collected into book form by the poet himself. Gathered together now, they show the earliest development of Yeats's ideas on poetry, the role of literature, Irish literature, the formation of an Irish national theater, and the occult, as well as Yeats's interaction with his contemporary writers. As seen here, Yeats's vigorous activity as magazine critic and propagandist for the Irish literary cause belies the popular picture created by his poetry of the "Celtic Twilight" period, that of an idealistic dreamer in flight from the harsh realities of the practical world.

This new volume adds four years' worth of Yeats's writings not included in a previous (1970) edition of his early articles and reviews. It also greatly expands the background notes and textual notes, bringing this compilation up to date with the busy world of Yeats scholarship over the last three decades. Early Articles and Reviews is an essential sourcebook illuminating Yeat's reading, his influences, and his literary opinions about other poets and writers.

About William Butler Yeats

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In his 1940 memorial lecture in Dublin, T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them." Modern readers have increasingly agreed, and some now view Yeats even more than Eliot as the greatest modern poet in our language. Son of the painter John Butler Yeats, the poet divided his early years among Dublin, London, and the port of Sligo in western Ireland. Sligo furnished many of the familiar places in his poetry, among them the mountain Ben Bulben and the lake isle of Innisfree. Important influences on his early adulthood included his father, the writer and artist William Morris, the nationalist leader John O'Leary, and the occultist Madame Blavatsky. In 1889 he met the beautiful actress and Irish nationalist Maud Gonne; his long and frustrated love for her (she refused to marry him) would inspire some of his best work. Often and mistakenly viewed as merely a dreamy Celtic twilight, Yeats's work in the 1890s involved a complex attempt to unite his poetic, nationalist, and occult interests in line with his desire to "hammer [his] thoughts into unity." By the turn of the century, Yeats was immersed in the work with the Irish dramatic movement that would culminate in the founding of the Abbey Theatre in 1904 as a national theater for Ireland. Partly as a result of his theatrical experience, his poetry after 1900 began a complex "movement downwards upon life" fully evident in the Responsibilities volume of 1914. After that he published the extraordinary series of great volumes, all written after age 50, that continued until the end of his career. Widely read in various literary and philosophic traditions, Yeats owed his greatest debt to romantic poetry and once described himself, along with his coworkers John Synge and Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory, as a "last romantic." Yet he remained resolutely Irish as well and presented in his verse a persona bearing a subtle, idealized relationship to his everyday self. Political events such as the Easter Rising and the Irish civil war found their way into his poetry, as did personal ones such as marriage to the Englishwoman Georgiana "Georgie" Hyde-Lees in 1917, the birth of his children, and his sometime home in the Norman tower at Ballylee. So, too, did his increasing status as a public man, which included both the Nobel Prize in 1923 and a term as senator of the Irish Free State (1922--28). Yeats's disparate activities led to a lifelong quest for what he called "unity of being," which he pursued by "antinomies," or opposites. These included action and contemplation, life and art, fair and foul, and other famous pairs from his poetry. The most original poet of his age, he was also in ways the most traditional, and certainly the most substantial. His varied literary output included not only poems and plays but an array of prose forms such as essays, philosophy, fiction, reviews, speeches, and editions of folk and literary material. He also frequently revised his own poems, which exist in various published texts helpfully charted in the Variorum edition (1957).
Published May 20, 2010 by Scribner. 676 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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A poor student who never went to university, only to painting school, William Butler Yeats professed a scorn for scholarship. Nonetheless, he became an active critic. Financial need motivated much of

May 24 2004 | Read Full Review of The Collected Works of W.B. Y...

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