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The Life of W. B. Yeats : A Critical Biography - Terence Brown

The Life of W. B. Yeats

A Critical Biography

Paperback Published: 25th April 2001
ISBN: 9780631228516
Number Of Pages: 436

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W.B. Yeats, widely regarded as the greatest English-language poet of the twentieth century, believed that the life of a lyric poet was an experiment in living that should be told. This new critical biography seeks to tell that story as it unfolded in the various contexts in which Yeats worked as an artist and as a public figure. It considers a career that began in the late Victorian world of 1880s and 1890s London, which involved a deep commitment to the life of an emergent Ireland in the twentieth century, disillusionment and the alienation from the modern world that made Yeats, who began as a symbolist poet, one of the major figures of the Modernist movement in the second decade of the century. A central focus of this study is Yeats's perennial pursuit of sacral power which he saw as being vested in traditional institutions. It examines how at various stages of his life he sought to acquire such power for himself in such "institutions" as a magical order, a nation, a theatre, the community of the dead, and, climactically, an occult marriage. The concluding stages of the book assess Yeats's final years as a crisis of that faith in institutions, which had hitherto sustained him in all he attempted. At the last only the institution of the verse itself retained its efficacy in the end. This study allows us to gain a much deeper appreciation of the poet's engagement with occult knowledge and power and with spiritualist illumination. It explores this problematic aspect of the poet's career as bearing on key elements in the experience of modernity: the roles of science and religion, the emancipation of women and the artistic representation of the body. In this book all Yeats's major works as poet and dramatist are considered in the contexts in which they came to be written and published.

"For general readers and undergraduates, Brown's is the bestchoice. Brown's excellent biography is highly recommended for allreadership levels."Choice

"This is a wonderful critical history, meticulously providing afull context in time and place for all of Yeats's writings."TheSunday Tribune

Brown is especially good at showing how Yeats constructed hisvolumes of poetry as a 'work in progress', and at rooting hisacheivements in the venemous politics of Dublin culturewars."New York Times Book Review

"The work is fascinating and a pleasure to read, Brown anilluminating and companiable guide."John McGahern, The IrishTimes

"One of the many splendid qualities of Terence Brown's recentbiography is its critical appreciation of the poet's extraordinarycultural accomplishments within the broader context of abrilliantly rendered political and social history of modernIreland.
"Brown's book is nonetheless the finest single-volume biography ofthe Irish poet since the publication of Richard Ellmann's seminalYeats: The Man and the Masks in 1948." Reason

"Exceptional!!!!" Today's Books

List of Illustrations.

Preface and Acknowledgements.


Prologue: Sindbad's Yellow Shore.

1. Victorian Cities: London and Dublin.

2. The English 1890s.

3. Poems 1895.

4. Conflicts and Crises.

5. Patronage and Powers.

6. An Irish Ireland.

7. The Strong Enchanter.

8. The Mid-Life Mask.

9. Darkened Rooms.

10. The Lonely Height.

11. All Changed.

12. Occult Marriage.

13. The Weasel's Tooth.

14. Senator and Seer.

15. Visionary Modernist.

16. Home and Abroad.

17. An Old Man's Frenzy.

18. Stroke of Midnight.

Epilogue: Afterlife.

Works Cited.

Select Bibliography and Guide to Further Reading.


ISBN: 9780631228516
ISBN-10: 0631228519
Series: Blackwell Critical Biographies (Paperback)
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 436
Published: 25th April 2001
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.94 x 15.27  x 2.39
Weight (kg): 0.62
Edition Number: 1