The Irish Writers: W.B. Yeats: A Biography

The Irish Writers: W.B. Yeats: A Biography

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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. A writer of verse since his teenage years, it was the publishing of The Wanderings of Oisin (1889) that brought him his first favourable reviews and established a reputation that was to grow and grow. His early poems are distinguished by images from the legends of Celtic mythology and by a lyrical directness and a wish to communicate with the Irish people. His involvement in Irish nationalist politics, and his unrequited love for the revolutionary Maud Gonne, inspired the poetry of his middle years. His later work is bleaker, more elaborate in style and theory than his early work, and is heavily influenced by the symbolism of the occult.

Largely responsible for founding Dublin's Abbey Theatre, home of the Irish National Theatre Society established in 1901, Yeats wrote several fine plays that were performed there. He was made a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922 and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Author David Ross has written an engaging and accessible biography of W.B. Yeats. Given the huge range of Yeats' interests - poetry, philosophy, history, mysticism and politics - and his eventful personal and public lives, Ross has deftly captured the spirit of the man and his work, relationships and beliefs.

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