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The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   566
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 27, 2002
Publisher   Scribner
ISBN  0743233158  
EAN  9780743233156  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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 Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition.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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More About W. B. Yeats & Richard J. Finneran

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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. As a boy he studied poetry before becoming fascinated with the mysticism and the occult. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

William Butler Yeats was born in 1865 and died in 1939.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great in small doses  Nov 21, 2004
This book does not have an index, but the Contents on pages vii-xiv provide the titles of poems, plays, autobiographical writings, critical writings, and five examples of the prose fiction of William Butler Yeats arranged by volume title (listing about 30 books published from 1889 to 1939, plus eight plays dated 1902-1939). People who just start reading at the beginning of the book have little reason to be aware that there are notes from page 485 to page 566. People who discover the Notes will need to know the order in which items appear in the book to refer back and forth between one and the other. Many dates, magazines, and names of people and places are mentioned in the Notes. There is information about the Irish Republic to explain the poem, "Easter, 1916" which ends on line 80 with "A terrible beauty is born." In the Notes, the poem "The Second Coming" has a rather complex interpretation, including, "All our scientific, democratic, fact-accumulating, heterogeneous civilization belongs to the outward gyre . . ." (p. 503).

Yeats had an interest in the occult which makes his stories seem a bit quaint for my usual fare, but his fame as a great poet is based on much material that is highly intellectual. If this book had an index, I would certainly look up William Blake to see if his name could be found in this book as often as Major Robert Gregory or any other. The selection of critical writings by Yeats contains a few pages on "William Blake and the Imagination." Unlike usual experiences, "But when one reads Blake, it is as though the spray of an inexhaustible fountain of beauty was blown into our faces, . . . but when one reads those `Prophetic Books' in which he spoke confusedly and obscurely because he spoke of things for whose speaking he could find no models in the world about him. He was a symbolist who had to invent his symbols;" (p. 373).

Margins have numbers every ten lines for keeping track of where the Notes fit into a poem, and it is a rare poem (`The Tower' has 195 lines, within which Yeats brags on page 87, "And I myself created Hanrahan") that has more than fifty lines. A poem on page 101 ends with line 130, and on page 108 ends with line 100. The last page of the poems section has part III of the poem, `The Circus Animals' Desertion,' which ends with a line that I think is famous because I know at least two people who could recall:

I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

Any poem that I associate with Yeats seems to be in this book, but I have not been trying very hard to learn more than bits and pieces at any one time. The story `Red Hanrahan' on pages 460-468 has some card shuffling mixed with magic, bewitching a poor hedge schoolmaster. It is a bit creepy, but the Stories of Red Hanrahan published in 1905 offer a link between the great poet and the culture of the pub that make it easier to understand what popularity was about in the times before television. Further information about culture in those days could be deduced from the section in his autobiographical writings about Oscar Wilde:

"My first meeting with Oscar Wilde was an astonishment. I never before heard a man talking with perfect sentences, as if he had written them all overnight with labour and yet all spontaneous." (p. 295). " `Furthermore,' was Wilde's answer, `I never answered their letters. I have known men come to London full of bright prospects and seen them complete wrecks in a few months through a habit of answering letters.' " (p. 296).
A marvellous compendium and overview  Oct 18, 2001
I first fell in love with Yeats poetry (specifically "The Song Of Wandering Aengus" before discovering the rest of his poetry) then discovered his plays and prose. I was particularly taken with his version of some classis Irish fairy tales.

This volume, with over a hundred of his poems, eight plays, around a dozen excerpts of autobiographical writing, a similar number of critical writings and half a dozen pieces of prose, covers a marvellous gamut of this mans work in around 600 pages. It is a good size to carry around with you.

The choices taken are good, all my favourite poems and plays are here, my only regret is that none of his fairy tales are here.

I would recommend this volume to anyone who enjoys Yeats poetry and/or plays and wants a good selection of his work in many fields. It is also the perfect introduction to his work for someone you know who might enjoy this marvellous poet.

A Complete Look at Yeats  Jul 22, 2000
Seeing his grave this summer was something that stunned my spirit as much as any experience in my life. As a life-long reader of Yeats, I have many of his poems on my shelf. When I want to read as I walk and have a wide selection, this is the book I choose. I'm purchasing this for a dear friend.

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