Why should anyone
buy this edition as opposed to any of the other available? First, the collected
poems gives you a sense of his development and interests, not just the
highlights of his greates poems. Second, and more importantly, this edition is
well-annotated. The notes are thorough without being unduly interpretive--they
tell you what an allusion refers to, not how it affects the meaning of the poem.
The notes aim to be useful to any reader, regardless of background. As a result,
western readers will come across odd sounding notes such as "Jesus Christ is the
founder of Christianity" or "Hamlet is the hero of William Shakespeare's tragedy
of the same name." Still, you'll be thankful for such prosaic entries as they
explain Irish myth and locate historical allusions.
Modernist, mystical dreamer and leader of the Irish Literary Revival, W.B. Yeats
began writing with the intention of putting his "very self" into his poems. T.S.
Eliot, one of the many who proclaimed the Irishman's greatness, described Yeats
as "one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are
part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood wihout them." For
anyone interested in the literature of the 20th century, Yeats' poetry demands
to be read and, what is more, to be read as a whole: this volume includes all of
his published poetry, from the hauntingly beautiful early lyrics by which he is
still best remembered, to the magnificent later work which put beyond question
his status as the foremost poet of his age.
William Butler Yeats was born in
Yeats was deeply involved in politics in
W.B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. 1:
The Apprentice Mage, 1865-1914 ( by R. F. Foster (Oxford University Press) (Hardcover)
William Butler Yeats has cast his long shadow
over the history of both modern poetry and modern Ireland for so long that his
preeminence is taken for granted. Now, in the first authorized biography of
Yeats to appear in over fifty years, leading Irish historian R.F. Foster travels
beyond Yeats's towering image as arguably the century's greatest poet to restore
a real sense of Yeats's extraordinary life as Yeats himself experienced it--what
he saw, what he did, the passions and the petty squabbles that consumed him, and
his alchemical ability to transmute the events of his crowded and contradictory
life into enduring art.
In the first volume of this long-awaited biography, Foster covers the poet's
first fifty years, bringing new light to bear on Yeats's heroic and often
ruthless efforts to invent himself as a poet and public figure. Drawn from a
fascinating archive of personal and contemporary documents with the cooperation
of surviving members of the Yeats family, it dramatically alters long-held
assumptions about the poet's background, his relationship with Maud Gonne and
other women, and his roles in the great cultural and political upheavals that
Poet, playwright, mystic and revolutionary; lover, confidant, and friend. This
brilliant account of the public and private lives of William Butler Yeats
illuminates not only the wellspring of his artistic vision, but the modern Irish
identity he helped to create. It is essential reading for anyone intrigued by
one of the most original and influential voices of the twentieth century.
W. B. Yeats, a Life: II: Foster (Oxford
University Press) The first volume of this definitive
biography of W.B. Yeats left him in his 50th year, at a crossroads in his life.
The subsequent quarter-century surveyed in "The Arch-Poet" takes in his
rediscovery of advanced nationalism and his struggle for an independent Irish
culture, his`continued pursuit of supernatural truths through occult
experimentation, his extraordinary marriage and a series of tumultuous love
affairs. Throughout this time he was writing his greatest poems, from the stark
simplicity of "The Fisherman" and "The Wild Swans at Coole", through the
magnificent complexities of the sequences reflecting the Troubles and Civil War
The first volume in Roy Foster's magisterial biography of W.B. Yeats was hailed as "a work of huge significance" (The Atlantic Monthly) and "a stupendous historiographical feat" (Irish Sunday Independent). Now, the eagerly awaited second volume explores the complex poetic, political, and personal intricacies of Yeats's dramatic final decades, a period that saw the Easter Rebellion, the founding of the Irish state in 1922, and the production of Yeats's greatest masterpieces. In the conclusion of this first fully authorized biography, Foster brilliantly illuminates the circumstances--the rich internal and external experiences--that shaped the great poetry of Yeats's later years: "The Wild Swans at Coole," "Sailing to Byzantium," "The Tower," "The Circus Animals Desertion," "Under Ben Bulben," and many others. Yeats's pursuit of Irish nationalism and an independent Irish culture, his continued search for supernatural truths through occult experimentation, his extraordinary marriage, a series of tempestuous love affairs, and his lingering obsession with Maud Gonne are all explored here with a nuance and awareness rare in literary biography. Foster gives us the very texture of Yeats's life and thought, revealing the many ways he made poetry out of the "quarrel" with himself and the upheaval around him. But this consummate biography also shows that Yeats was much more than simply a lyric poet and examines in great detail Yeats's non-poetic work--his essays, plays, polemics, and memoirs. The enormous and varied circle of Yeats's friends, lovers, family, collaborators and antagonists inhabit and enrich a personal world of astounding energy, artistic commitment and verve; while the poet himself is shown returning again and again to his governing preoccupations, sex and death. Based on complete and unprecedented access to Yeats's papers and written with extraordinary grace and insight, W.B. Yeats, A Life offers the fullest portrait yet of the private and public life of one of the twentieth century's greatest poets.
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