Critical Companion to William Butler Yeats: A Literary by David A. Ross

By David A. Ross

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats is frequently thought of the most appropriate English-language poet of the 20 th century, yet he used to be additionally a huge playwright, folklorist, critic, and flesh presser. This quantity covers all of Yeats' very important poems, his performs and different non-fiction writing.

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Lady Gregory was indispensable in the work of both managing a theater and writing plays, but she was far more than a helpmate. In 1909, he would exalt her as “mother, friend, sister and brother,” and credit her with bringing to his “wavering thoughts steadfast nobility” (Aut. 353; Mem. 160–161). Most fundamentally, she taught him by example what it meant to inherit and uphold a tradition. Yeats’s unusually long formative period ended in 1903 with the appearance of two watershed volumes: Ideas of Good and Evil, published by A.

In conjunction, the volumes placed Yeats at the threshold of greatness. The era-ending thunderclap, however, was personal rather than artistic. Despite Gonne’s revelations of 1898, Yeats had continued to court her, proposing marriage in February 1899 and again in 1900 (New Biography 112–113, 129). In February 1903, Yeats learned utterly to his surprise that in a matter of weeks she was to marry Major William Butler Yeats in 1902 (Library of Congress) John MacBride (1865–1916), a strapping military man revered by nationalists for his part against the British in the Boer War.

The play’s seven-day run was marked by disturbances, arrests, and public speeches, but Yeats steadfastly held his ground, refusing to apologize or compromise. The controversy catalyzed Yeats’s recoil against the middle class and deepened his embrace of the conservative and aristocratic values he found symbolized by Coole Park and expressed in the pages of Castiglione and Nietzsche. Yeats’s aristocratic turn was reinforced in the spring of 1907 when he visited Italy—Florence, San Marino, Urbino, Pesaro, Ravenna, Rimini, Ferrara, and Venice—with Lady Gregory and her son Robert Gregory, an aspiring artist.

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