Professor Stock has written a critical interpretation of Yeats's poems for the reader who is interested enough to study the poetry attentively but is not familiar with either Yeats's prose or his scholarship. The underlying idea of this book is that, although the poet's beliefs and the power of his poetry are different things, great poetry does not grow out of insincere or flabby thinking. Because Yeats's thought is often disconcerting, readers tend to treat it as an aberration rather than an essential part of his poetry. Thus, in relation to the poems, Professor Stock considers three elements of his thought at some length - his preoccupation with Irish tradition, his social and political outlook, and the ideas formulated in A Vision. In particular Professor Stock (herself Irish) has dwelt considerably on Yeats's lifelong preoccupation with his Irish inheritance, and with the distinctive tradition and temperament behind his writing. Finally, Professor Stock has paid considerable attention to Yeats's borrowings from eastern thought.