W. B. YEATS by Joseph Hone

W. B. YEATS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Books about W. B. Yeats have been, in general, notoriously uneven, whether critical or biographical, the best of the latter, that written by Joseph Hone and first published in 1942, is now on the stands again, refurbished and revised. Lavishly detailed, lucidly annotated and liberally sprinkled with all the relevant records, manuscripts, letters and remembered chit chat provided by the famed poet's estate, the work seems destined to remain the definitive life for some time to come. Yeats was born in 1865 at Sandymount near Dublin; through his dashing painter-father, the world of culture and politics early presented itself, and we find Yeats' friends and fancies including Morris and Henley, Symons and Johnson, Moore and Synge, Maud Gonne and Lady Gregory. With the latter he founded the Abbey Theatre; an advocate of Irish Nationalism he supported Parnell and Casement, and after the establishment of the Free State became one of its first senators. Hone elaborates Yeats' amazing creative development from the Pre-Raphaelite ""embroideries"" to the sharp style of the middle years and the monumental one of old age. The poet's married life, the Civil War, the visionary days at Coole, the experiments in the occult with Blavatsky theosophists, the various systems he used to embrace philosophy, mythology and mysticism, his personal antipathy to Bertrand Russell, a ""featherhead"", and his alignment with the post-World War generation of Eliot and Pound, all fill out a long and richly influential career.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press