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William Butler Yeats

analytical Essay
832 words
832 words
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William Butler Yeats

One of Ireland's finest writers, William Butler Yeats served a long apprenticeship in the arts before his genius was fully developed. He did some of his greatest work after he was fifty.

Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 13, 1865. His father was a lawyer-turned-Irish painter. In 1867 the family followed him to London and settled in Bedford Park. In 1881 they returned to Dublin, where Yeats studied the Metropolitan School of Art. Yeats spent much time with his grandparents in County Sligo in northwestern Ireland. The scenery and folklore of this region greatly influenced Yeats' work. For a while he studied art, but during the 1890s he became active in London's literary life and helped found the Rhymers' Club.

Yeats' early work was not especially Irish. Soon, however, he began to look to the ancient rituals and pagan beliefs of the land for his artistic inspiration. He tried to merge this interest with his aristocratic tastes to create an original Irish poetry and to establish his own identity.

In 1896 Yeats met Lady Gregory, an aristocrat and playwright who shared his interest in Ireland's past, especially in its folklore. In 1899 they formed a literary society that was the predecessor of the Abbey Theatre. Among his plays were 'The Countess Cathleen' (1892) and 'Cathleen ni Houlihan' (1902), with Maud Gonne in the title role. In 1899 he proposed to her, but she refused to marry him. As a means of getting closer to Maud, Yeats later...

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that william butler yeats served a long apprenticeship in the arts before his genius was fully developed. he did some of his greatest work after he was fifty.
  • Explains that yeats' early work was not particularly irish, but he began to look to ancient rituals and pagan beliefs of the land for his artistic inspiration. he tried to merge this interest with his aristocratic tastes to create an original irish poetry and establish his identity.
  • Narrates how yeats met lady gregory, an aristocrat and playwright who shared his interest in ireland's past, especially in its folklore. in 1899 he proposed to her, but she refused to marry him.
  • Analyzes how yeats' suggestive, beautiful lyricism changed to the tune of spare and tragic bitterness as ireland faced certain war in the early 1910s.
  • Describes how yeats' love for maud gonne sparked his interest in the country's political struggles. he defended protestant interests and took pro-treaty stance against republicans.
  • Explains that yeats devoted himself to literature and drama, believing that poems and plays would create a national unity capable of transforming the country. he published 'easter 1916' about the irish nationalist uprising.
  • Explains that yeats persuaded john millington synge to return to irish folklore for subject material in his work for the abbey, which opened in 1904.
  • Explains that occultism played a significant role in yeats' life. he was impressed with the works of emanuel swedenborg, william blake, stephane mallarme, and charles baudelaire.
  • Explains that yeats founded the irish academy of letters in 1932 and was briefly involved with the fascist ‘blueshirts’ in dublin in 1933.
  • Analyzes how yeats set forth his theories of history and human personality in a prose style poem called 'a vision'.
  • Narrates how yeats became seriously ill while vacationing in mallorca and died in roquebrune, france. his body remained buried there throughout world war ii, but in 1948 it was brought back to ireland for burial in county sligo.
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