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18 October 1984
The Mystery Religion of W.B.​ Yeats 
by Graham Hough.
Harvester, 129 pp., £15.95, May 1984, 0 7108 0603 5
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Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry 
by Cairns Craig.
Croom Helm, 323 pp., £14.95, January 1982, 9780856649974
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Yeats. Poems 1919-1935: A Selection of Critical Essays 
edited by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £14, July 1984, 0 333 27422 9
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The Poet and his Audience 
by Ian Jack.
Cambridge, 198 pp., £20, July 1984, 0 521 26034 5
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A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B.​ Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 543 pp., £35, May 1984, 0 333 35214 9
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Poems of W.B.​ Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £17, August 1984, 0 333 36213 6
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... College London in February 1983. The audience was general and the lectures were pitched accordingly. Yet all Yeatsian specialists will profit from this book and the ‘radical simplification’ of Yeats’s occult philosophy which it so lucidly achieves. Professor Hough takes Yeats’s beliefs seriously, but is neither a dévot nor sceptic. He demonstrates the ‘ancient lineage’ of the claims of ...


Louise Foxcroft: W.B. Yeats​ and her great-uncle

7 September 2000
... funeral and burial in the hilltop cemetery of Roquebrune, above Menton. They chose a grave plot the lease on which, according to the usual practice in France, had to be renewed after ten years. W.B.Yeats died in Cap Martin on the same day. His family chose the same sort of plot and the two men were buried alongside each other and their graves marked by plain white marble slabs bearing just their ...

The Playboy of West 29th Street

Colm Tóibín: Yeats’s Father in Exile

25 January 2018
... an hour earlier, I had heard one of the librarians telling someone on the phone in a half-whisper that someone called Colm Tóibín was in the library looking at the correspondence of John Butler Yeats, which had been transcribed, then typed, then donated to the library by William M. Murphy, John Butler Yeats’s biographer. And now I looked up from the Yeats letters to find a man looking at me. It ...

The Bird-Haunt

Harry Clifton

20 July 2000
... They had changed their throats and had the throats of birds. W.B.Yeats Soon enough, they will come to me, The birds, as I hunker here In a wooden blind, on the shores of Lough Neagh, Alone and cold, but never lonely. All the souls will come to me, Their given names ...

Lily and Lolly

Sarah Rigby

18 July 1996
The Yeats​ Sisters: A Biography of Susan and Elizabeth Yeats 
by Joan Hardwick.
Pandora, 263 pp., £8.99, January 1996, 0 04 440924 9
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... Shortly before he died in 1922, John Butler Yeats wrote an angry, defensive letter to his eldest son William. W.B.Yeats had published a memoir in the Dial and his father objected to the almost parenthetical mention in one episode of an ‘enraged’ Yeats family. The remark unleashed in him a long-restrained ...


Terry Eagleton

7 July 1994
The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats. Vol. III: 1901-1904 
edited by John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard.
Oxford, 781 pp., £35, May 1994, 0 19 812683 2
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Modern Irish Literature: Sources and Founders 
by Vivian Mercier.
Oxford, 381 pp., £30, April 1994, 0 19 812074 5
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... I dreamed last night I was hanged,’ W.B.Yeats once announced, ‘but was the life and soul of the party.’ It is impossible with such oracular Yeatsian pronouncements to separate mask from reality, the poseur from the sincere eccentric. Auden ...

Paint Run Amuck

Frank Kermode: Jack Yeats

12 November 1998
Jack Yeats 
by Bruce Arnold.
Yale, 418 pp., £29.95, September 1998, 0 300 07549 9
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... We attach the epithet ‘great’ rather loosely to artists, but there is probably some tacit agreement about which ones deserve it. It doesn’t seem wrong to call W.B.Yeats a great poet, and in certain contexts he may be called a great Irish poet, though most of the time it might seem odd to insist that Dante was a great Italian, or Shakespeare a great English, poet ...
5 May 1988
... When the prospect of this evening’s honours was first mooted I was aware that T.S. Eliot had praised W.B.Yeats for not allowing himself to become a mere coathanger upon which the world draped its honours, but could assuage myself by thinking that Eliot had never witnessed the Merton Professor of English ...


Gerald Hammond: At the Races

3 July 1997
... When W.B.Yeats imagined his ideal society, an aristocratic world where poets would be celebrated, and surrounded by ‘hearers and hearteners of the work’, the one place where it could be glimpsed was the ...
3 April 1986
The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats. Vol. I: 1865-1895 
edited by John Kelly and Eric Domville.
Oxford, 548 pp., £22.50, January 1986, 0 19 812679 4
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... writer, the sacred depository of all higher values, has crumbled since the Liberation.’ In Ireland lately there has developed a liberating impulse to desacralise a national institution called YEATS and in a seminal pamphlet, ‘Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea’, the country’s most significant and influential critic, Seamus Deane, has criticised the way in which an acceptance of ...
23 April 1987
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... education as himself.’ Still, the question of MacNeice as Irish poet hovered over the book. It is my impression that some of the Northern poets still hope to present MacNeice, not indeed as their Yeats or Joyce, but as their Kavanagh – a poet who seemed inspiring to his juniors, and available to them as Yeats and Joyce never were. Seamus Heaney, for instance, has written of Kavanagh in terms ...
27 January 2020
... directly (‘All I can do is sound the lyre/however feebly, against the drone’), but he won’t quite give up the fight. Behind many of the warbling, nest-building images lurks the shadow of W.B.Yeats, another poet of birds. Yeats actually appears in one poem, conjuring spirits ‘where they threshed/upon the threshold of this world’. And there is even a poem spoken in the voice of his rough ...


Seamus Deane

4 June 1981
Yeats, Ireland and Fascism 
by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 251 pp., £15, February 1981, 0 333 26199 2
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... In July 1933, at the height of his involvement with the Blueshirts, the Irish Fascist organisation, Yeats wrote: ‘It is amusing to live in a country where men will always act. Where nobody is satisfied with thought … The chance of being shot is raising everybody’s spirits enormously.’ However ...
1 December 1983
The Collected Letters of John Millington Synge. Vol. I: 1871-1907 
edited by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 385 pp., £30, August 1983, 0 19 812678 6
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... of land. In 1893 he canvassed against Gladstone’s second Home Rule Bill on the grounds that it would exacerbate the question of land and cause war between landowner and peasant. In Paris he joined Yeats and Maud Gonne in the Association Irlandaise and stayed in it as long as its talk sounded harmless, but when Maud’s journal L’Irlande Libre looked as if it would take the libre literally, he ...

A Djinn speaks

Colm Tóibín: What about George Yeats?

20 February 2003
Becoming George: The Life of Mrs W.B.​ Yeats 
by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 808 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 19 811232 7
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... In 1979, in a preface to a new edition of Yeats: The Man and the Masks, Richard Ellmann wrote about 46 Palmerston Road in Rathmines in Dublin, where George Yeats lived between her husband’s death in 1939 and her own death almost thirty years later. Mrs Yeats lived, Ellmann wrote, among the dead poet’s papers. ‘There in the bookcases was his working ...

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