W. B. Yeats: A Life II: The Arch-Poet 1915-1939

OUP Oxford
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The acclaimed first volume of this definitive biography of W. B. Yeats left him in his fiftieth year, at a crossroads in his life. The subsequent quarter-century surveyed in The Arch-Poet takes in his rediscovery of advanced nationalism and his struggle for an independent Irish culture, his continued pursuit of supernatural truths through occult experimentation, his extraordinary marriage, and a series of tumultuous love affairs. Throughout he was writing his greatest poems: 'The Fisherman' and 'The Wild Swans at Coole' in their stark simplicity; the magnificently complex sequences on the Troubles and Civil War; the Byzantium poems; and the radically compressed last work - some of it literally written on his deathbed. The drama of his life is mapped against the history of the Irish revolution and the new Irish state founded in 1922. Yeats's many political roles and his controversial involvement in a right-wing movement during the early 1930s are covered more closely than ever before, and his complex and passionate relationship with the developing history of his country remains a central theme. Throughout this book, the genesis, alteration, and presentation of his work (memoirs and polemic as well as poetry) is explored through his private and public life. The enormous and varied circle of Yeats's friends, lovers, family, collaborators, and antagonists inhabit and enrich a personal world of astounding energy, artistic commitment, and verve. Yeats constantly re-created himself and his work, believing that art was 'not the chief end of life but an accident in one's search for reality': a search which brought him again and again back to his governing preoccupations: sex and death. He also held that 'all knowledge is biography', a belief reflected in this study of one of the greatest lives of modern times.
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About the author

Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford, and a fellow of Hertford College. He has written widely on Irish history, society, and politics in the modern period, as well as on Victorian high politics and culture, and his publications include Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life (Oxford, 1981), Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (London, 1988), and The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it up in Ireland (London, 2001). The first volume of this biography, W.B. Yeats, A Life. I: The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 was published by OUP in 1997.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Mar 17, 2005
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Pages
856
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ISBN
9780191584251
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
Literary Criticism / General
Literary Criticism / Poetry
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Roy Foster is one of Ireland's leading historians, the author of the much acclaimed two-volume biography of Yeats as well as the definitive history Modern Ireland, which has been hailed as "dazzling" (New York Times Book Review) and "elegant, erudite, wise, witty" (Irish Times). Now, this brilliant writer offers a "short and combative" account of Ireland's astonishing transformation over the last three decades. Has there really been an "economic miracle"? Where does the explosion of cultural energy in music, literature, and theater come from? Has the power of the Catholic Church really crumbled? Focusing largely on contemporary events, living people, current controversies, and popular culture, Luck and the Irish explores these questions and raises other provocative questions of its own. Foster looks at the astonishing volte-face undertaken by Sinn Fein, eventually taking office in a state they had once fought to destroy. He describes how Catholicism, once the bedrock of Irish identity, has been decisively compromised, as evidenced by the exploitation and abuse scandals and the drastic decline in devotions. At the same time, the position of women in Irish society has been transformed, with the growth of feminism, a revolution in sexual attitudes, far more women in the work force, the ascendancy of President Mary Robinson, and the movement of women to front-rank Cabinet posts--all of which have put the position of Irish women ahead of that in many European nations. Many old molds have been broken in Irish society over the last 30 years, and the immediate results have been breath-taking. But are these developments really as permanent or even as beneficial as they appear? Everyone curious about the recent past, the burgeoning present, and the unclear future of Ireland will want to read this superbly written and deeply thoughtful book.
A masterful history of Ireland’s Easter Rising told through the lives of ordinary people who forged a revolutionary generation.

On Easter Monday, 1916, Irish rebels poured into Dublin’s streets to proclaim an independent republic. Ireland’s long struggle for self-government had suddenly become a radical and bloody fight for independence from Great Britain. Irish nationalists mounted a week-long insurrection, occupying public buildings and creating mayhem before the British army regained control. The Easter Rising provided the spark for the Irish revolution, a turning point in the violent history of Irish independence.

In this highly original history, acclaimed scholar R. F. Foster explores the human dimension of this pivotal event. He focuses on the ordinary men and women, Yeats’s “vivid faces,” who rose “from counter or desk among grey / Eighteenth-century houses” and took to the streets. A generation made, not born, they rejected the inherited ways of the Church, their bourgeois families, and British rule. They found inspiration in the ideals of socialism and feminism, in new approaches to love, art, and belief.

Drawing on fresh sources, including personal letters and diaries, Foster summons his characters to life. We meet Rosamond Jacob, who escaped provincial Waterford for bustling Dublin. On a jaunt through the city she might visit a modern art gallery, buy cigarettes, or read a radical feminist newspaper. She could practice the Irish language, attend a lecture on Freud, or flirt with a man who would later be executed for his radical activity. These became the roots of a rich life of activism in Irish and women’s causes.

Vivid Faces shows how Rosamond and her peers were galvanized to action by a vertiginous sense of transformation: as one confided to his diary, “I am changing and things around me change.” Politics had fused with the intimacies of love and belief, making the Rising an event not only of the streets but also of the hearts and minds of a generation.

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