Bio Of WB Yeats Essay Research Paper

Bio Of WB Yeats Essay, Research Paper

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 proposed to her daughter, who also

refused. Yeats met Ezra Pound in 1912, and Pound became his fencing

master and secretary during the winters of 1913 and 1914, and was a

friend and confidante for the remainder of this life. The suggestive,

beautiful lyricism of Yeats? early career (including such works as the

famous ?Sailing to Byzantium?) changed to the tune of spare and tragic

bitterness as Ireland faced certain war in the early 1910s. This was

apparent in Yeats poem ‘September 1913′ in which he stated: Romantic

Irelands dead and gone.” During the civil war Irish Free State soldiers

burned many of Yeats letters to Maud Gonne when they raided her house.


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