This volume, a reissue of the 1990 edition of Jeffares's biography of Yeats, with a new introduction and bibliography, is an account of Yeats's life and work. It features a collection of previously unpublished letters, photographs and poetry.
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(198mm x 129mm x 25mm)
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
In this updated and expanded life of William Butler Yeats, the author shows clearly that good biography is a living entity. Revisions in the biographies of major figures will always be necessary where there is a continuous incoming flow of new material to explore and explain. A noted authority on Yeats, Professor Jeffares concentrates on untangling the strands of his subject's multiple endeavours and tries to distil the essence of one of the greatest poets in the English language. Chapters are split into specific narrative episodes, building a portrait of a man doggedly pursuing his goal of bringing Irish literature to the wider world. Yeats explored the supernatural and immersed himself in folklore. He was involved in Irish politics and in the formation of the Irish National Theatre. He wrote poetry, plays, essays, a novel and his memoirs. He lectured abroad, was interested in automatic writing, became a member of the Irish Senate, restored a castle, organised a Young Ireland League to unite Irish literary societies and promote the publication of Irish books, launched the Irish Academy of Letters, edited the Oxford Book of Modern Verse and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Above all, he worked tirelessly to awaken people to an understanding of the beauty and significance of Ireland's past: its myths, its legends, its history. His ambition was no less than the promotion of Ireland's own cultural identity. Running like a silken thread through the book is Yeats's fascination with the love of his life, the beautiful revolutionary Maud Gonne. Yeats proposed to her on numerous occasions over a period of 25 years. Though she always rejected him, she remained his spiritual partner and the catalyst for much of his greatest poetry. While ruling out physical passion, she once wrote of an astral experience she had with Yeats: 'We melted into one another till we found only one being, a being greater than ourselves who felt all and knew all with double intensity.' Yeats himself would have fully approved of this extended biography since he believed that his own life was 'an experiment in living' and that those who came after had a right to know about it. Packed and densely written, it will educate those who know little of Yeats and delight serious scholars. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - A. Norman Jeffares
Norman Jeffares is an authority on Yeats and Anglo-Irish literary traditions. He was formerly Professor of English at the University of Stirling.