William Butler Yeats Biography Essay

William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the 17th century.As he explained in a note included in the 1908 volume : “When I first wrote I went here and there for my subjects as my reading led me, and preferred to all other countries Arcadia and the India of romance, but presently I convinced myself ...

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The club’s influence is reflected in the lush density of Yeats’s poetry of the times, culminating in (1899).

Although Yeats was soon to abandon that lush density, he remained permanently committed to the Rhymers’ insistence that a poet should labor “at rhythm and cadence, at form and style”—as he reportedly told a Dublin audience in 1893.

O’Leary had a keen enthusiasm for Irish books, music, and ballads, and he encouraged young writers to adopt Irish subjects.

Yeats, who had preferred more romantic settings and themes, soon took O’Leary’s advice, producing many poems based on Irish legends, Irish folklore, and Irish ballads and songs.

Yeats remained an active member of the Golden Dawn for 32 years, becoming involved in its direction at the turn of the century and achieving the coveted sixth grade of membership in 1914, the same year that his future wife, Georgiana Hyde-Lees, also joined the society.

Although Yeats’s occult ambitions were a powerful force in his private thoughts, the Golden Dawn’s emphasis on the supernatural clashed with his own need as a poet for interaction in the physical world, and thus in his public role he preferred to follow the example of John Keats, a Romantic poet who remained—in comparison with Romantics William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley—relatively close to the materials of life.

The turn of the century marked Yeats’s increased interest in theatre, an interest influenced by his father, a famed artist and orator who loved highly dramatic moments in literature.

In the summer of 1897 the author enjoyed his first stay at Coole Park, the County Galway estate of Lady Augusta Gregory.

In London, Yeats met with Maud Gonne, a tall, beautiful, socially prominent young woman passionately devoted to Irish nationalism.

Yeats soon fell in love with Gonne, and courted her for nearly three decades; although he eventually learned that she had already borne two children from a long affair, with Gonne’s encouragement Yeats redoubled his dedication to Irish nationalism and produced such nationalistic plays as (1902), which featured her as the personification of Ireland in the title role.

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