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

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Feb 12, 2013
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9781416593737
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Since its first appearance in 1962, M. L. Rosenthal's classic selection of Yeats's poems and plays has attracted hundreds of thousands of readers. This newly revised edition includes 211 poems and 4 plays. It adds The Words Upon the Window-Pane, one of Yeats's most startling dramatic works in its realistic use of a seance as the setting for an eerily powerful reenactment of Jonathan Swift's rigorous idealism, baffling love relationships, and tragic madness. The collection profits from recent scholarship that has helped to establish Yeats's most reliable texts, in the order set by the poet himself. And his powerful lyrical sequences are amply represented, culminating in the selection from Last Poems and Two Plays, which reaches its climax in the brilliant poetic plays The Death of Cuchulain and Purgatory.

Scholars, students, and all who delight in Yeats's varied music and sheer quality will rejoice in this expanded edition. As the introduction observes, "Early and late he has the simple, indispensable gift of enchanting the ear....He was also the poet who, while very much of his own day in Ireland, spoke best to the people of all countries. And though he plunged deep into arcane studies, his themes are most clearly the general ones of life and death, love and hate, man's condition, and history's meanings. He began as a sometimes effete post-Romantic, heir to the pre-Raphaelites, and then, quite naturally, became a leading British Symbolist; but he grew at last into the boldest, most vigorous voice of this century." Selected Poems and Four Plays represents the essential achievement of the greatest twentieth-century poet to write in English.
Throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats -- Irish writer and premier lyric poet in English in this century -- produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our vocabulary for cataclysmic personal and world events. The writings of his final years offer wisdom, courage, humor, and sheer technical virtuosity. T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "the greatest poet of our time -- certainly the greatest in this language, and so far as I am able to judge, in any language" and "one of the few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them."

The Yeats Reader is the most comprehensive single volume to display the full range of Yeats's talents. It presents more than one hundred and fifty of his best-known poems -- more than any other compendium -- plus eight plays, a sampling of his prose tales, and excerpts from his published autobiographical and critical writings. In addition, an appendix offers six early texts of poems that Yeats later revised. Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition. These are supplemented by unobtrusive annotation and a chronology of the life.

Yeats was a protean writer and thinker, and few writers so thoroughly reward a reader's efforts to essay the whole of their canon. This volume is an excellent place to begin that enterprise, to renew an old acquaintance with one of world literature's great voices, or to continue a lifelong interest in the phenomenon of literary genius.
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.
I HAVE not found it possible to revise this book as completely as I should have wished. I have corrected a bad mistake of a copyist, and added a few pages of new verses towards the end, and softened some phrases in the introduction which seemed a little petulant in form, and written in a few more to describe writers who have appeared during the last four years, and that is about all. I compiled it towards the end of a long indignant argument, carried on in the committee rooms of our literary societies, and in certain newspapers between a few writers of our new movement, who judged Irish literature by literary standards, and a number of people, a few of whom were writers, who judged it by its patriotism and by its political effect; and I hope my opinions may have value as part of an argument which may awaken again. The Young Ireland writers wrote to give the peasantry a literature in English in place of the literature they were losing with Gaelic, and these methods, which have shaped the literary thought of Ireland to our time, could not be the same as the methods of a movement which, so far as it is more than an instinctive expression of certain moods of the soul, endeavours to create a reading class among the more leisured classes, which will preoccupy itself with Ireland and the needs of Ireland. The peasants in eastern counties have their Young Ireland poetry, which is always good teaching and sometimes good poetry, and the peasants of the western counties have beautiful poems and stories in Gaelic, while our more leisured classes read little about any country, and nothing about Ireland. We cannot move these classes from an apathy, come from their separation from the land they live in, by writing about politics or about Gaelic, but we may move them by becoming men of letters and expressing primary emotions and truths in ways appropriate to this country. One carries on the traditions of Thomas Davis, towards whom our eyes must always turn, not less than the traditions of good literature, which are the morality of the man of letters, when one is content, like A.E. with fewer readers that one may follow a more hidden beauty; or when one endeavours, as I have endeavoured in this book, to separate what has literary value from what has only a patriotic and political value, no matter how sacred it has become to us.
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