The Yeats Reader, Revised Edition: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose

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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 Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition.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.
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About the author

The late Richard J. Finneran was general editor, with George Mills Harper, of The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats for many years; series editor of The Poems in the Cornell Yeats; and editor of Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies, among other works. He held the Hodges Chair of Excellence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; was a past president of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association; and served as executive director of the Society for Textual Scholarship.

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 29, 2011
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Pages
592
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ISBN
9781451673760
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
Poetry / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
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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.
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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