The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats Volume XIII: A Vision: The Original 1925 Version

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The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats, Volume XIII: A Vision is part of a fourteen-volume series under the general editorship of eminent Yeats scholar George Bornstein and formerly the late Richard J. Finneran and George Mills Harper. One of the strangest works of literary modernism, A Vision is Yeats's greatest occult work.

Edited by Yeats scholars Catherine E. Paul and Margaret Mills Harper, the volume presents the "system" of philosophy, psychology, history, and the life of the soul that Yeats and his wife George (née Hyde Lees) received and created by means of mediumistic experiments from 1917 through the early 1920s. Yeats obsessively revised the book, and the revised 1937 version is much more widely available than its predecessor. The original 1925 version of A Vision, poetic, unpolished, masked in fiction, and close to the excitement of the automatic writing that the Yeatses believed to be its supernatural origin, is presented here in a scholarly edition for the first time.

The text, minimally corrected to retain the sense of the original, is extensively annotated, with particular attention paid to the relationship between the published book and its complex genetic materials. Indispensable to an understanding of the poet's late work and entrancing on its own merit, A Vision aims to be, all at once, a work of theoretical history, an esoteric philosophy, an aesthetic symbology, a psychological schema, and a sacred book. It is as difficult as it is essential reading for any student of Yeats.
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About the author

William Butler Yeats is generally considered to be Ireland’s greatest poet, living or dead, and one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

Catherine E. Paul is Associate Professor of English at Clemson University. She is the author of Poetry in the Museums of Modernism: Yeats, Pound, Moore, Stein and of numerous articles relating to modernist studies.

Margaret Mills Harper, a coeditor of Yeat’s “Vision” Papers (volumes 3 and 4), is the author of Wisdom of Two: The Spiritual and Literary Collaboration of George and W.B. Yeats, The Aristocracy of Art in Joyce and Wolfe, and numerous articles on Yeats, Irish literature, and literary modernism. She is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Georgia State University.

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Additional Information

Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Feb 12, 2013
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Literary Criticism / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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Unsigned binding design by Althea Gyles in gold on smooth dark blue cloth. Includes frontispiece and 6 b/w illustrations after John Butler Yeats (the author's father). A collection of 17 short stories blending Irish with Rosicrucian characters and themes. Gyles' masterpiece shows influences of both the Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist movements. The front cover design is the Tree of Life, with its roots entwined in the skeleton of a dead knight and its crown displaying three roses (echoing the central rose representing a 'rosy cross' at the tree's 'heart'), The tree is composed of Celtic interlace that culminates in an image of kissing lovers. The spine design is that of Lug's spear (symbol of desire) enwreathed with poppies and immersed in a bowl of sleeping potion. The design on the rear cover is of the alchemical rose, a rose-cross contained in a diamond-like configuration of pointed spears and a circle (a 'squared circle'). Second binding issue, on smooth rather than ribbed cloth with publisher "A.H. Bullen" at the base of the spine. There were thought to be approximately 1000 copies of this issue. Althea Gyles (1868-1949) was a gifted artist, designer and poet who studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She met W. B. Yeats in 1891, and became, with Yeats, an adherent of the Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities. Gyles' works in Symbolism derive from the cabalistic iconography of the Golden Dawn's second order of Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (the Ruby Rose and Cross of Gold). Her ability to use abstract means to express the truth as she saw it, makes her work one of the vanguards of Modernism. Gyles is best known for her binding designs for Yeats including The Secret Rose (1897), Poems (1899) and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). -- Austin Abbey Rare Books.
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