W B Yeats's picture

W B Yeats

(William Butler Yeats)
Ireland (1865 - 1939)

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and English literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and together with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, and served as its chief during its early years. In 1923, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation;" and he was the first Irishman so honored. Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers whose greatest works were completed after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).

Yeats was born and educated in Dublin, but spent his childhood in Sligo. He studied poetry in his youth, and from an early age was fascinated by both Irish legends and the occult. Those topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and those slowly paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser and Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as to the lyricism of the Pre-Raphaelite poets.

From 1900, Yeats' poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. Over the years Yeats adopted many different ideological positions, including, in the words of the critic Michael Valdez Moses, "those of radical nationalist, classical liberal, reactionary conservative and millenarian nihilist".

Genres: Literary Fiction, Children's Fiction
   Wind Among the Reeds (poems) (1899)
   Plays for an Irish Theatre (1911)
   Stories of Red Hanrahan (1913)
   Responsibilities (poems) (1916)
   The Wild Swans At Coole (poems) (1917)
   Four Plays for Dancers (1921)
   Selected Poems (poems) (1921)
   Seven Poems and a Fragment (poems) (1922)
   Later Poems (poems) (1924)
   A Vision (1925)
   The Tower (poems) (1928)
   The Winding Stair (poems) (1928)
   Three Things (poems) (1929)
   Collected Plays of W.B.Yeats (1934)
   Last Poems and Plays (poems) (1940)
   Explorations (poems) (1962)
   New Poems (poems) (1970)
   Collected Poems (poems) (1976)
   A Poet to His Beloved (poems) (1985)
   Selected Poems and Four Plays (poems) (1996)
   Best-loved Yeats (poems) (2010)
   The First Yeats (poems) (2010)
   The Moon Spun Round (poems) (2016)
   Fairy Tales of Ireland (2019)
Anthologies edited
Non fiction
no image availablethumbthumbthumb
Anthologies containing stories by W B Yeats
Short stories
Belief and Unbelief
The Countess Kathleen O'Shea
A Coward
The Crucifixion of the Outcast
The Sorcerers
The Thick Skull of the Fortunate
The Three O'Byrnes
Village Ghosts

Nobel Prize in Literature Lifetime Achievement winner (1923)

Books about W B Yeats