Wednesday, May 5, 2010

William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats, was born in Sandy mount, County Dublin, Ireland in 1865. He was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.
Yeats’ life is possible to divide in three sections:

Young poet: In 1890, Yeats co-founded the Rhymers' Club with Ernest Rhys,[18] a group of London based poets who met regularly in a Fleet Street tavern to recite their verse. The collective later became known as the "Tragic Generation"[19] and published two anthologies: first in 1892 and again in 1894. Yeats had an special interest in mysticism, spiritualism, occultism, and astrology and he wrote: "If I had not made magic my constant study I could not have written a single word of my Blake book, nor would The Countess Kathleen ever have come to exist. The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write."
Yeats' first significant poem was "The Isle of Statues", a fantasy work that took Edmund Spenser for its poetic model. The piece appeared in Dublin University Review, but has not since been republished. His first solo publication was the pamphlet Mosada: A Dramatic Poem (1886), which comprised a print run of 100 copies paid for by his father. This was followed by the collection The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889).
His other early poems, which are meditations on the themes of love or mystical and esoteric subjects, include Poems (1895), The Secret Rose (1897), and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899).

Nobel Prize: In December 1923, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was aware of the symbolic value of an Irish winner so soon after Ireland had gained independence. His reply to the many of the letters of congratulations sent to him contained the words: "I consider that this honor has come to me less as an individual than as a representative of Irish literature, it is part of Europe's welcome to the Free State."

Old age and death: By early 1925, Yeats had completed most of the writing for "A Vision" (dated 1925, it actually appeared in January 1926, when he almost immediately started rewriting it for a second version). He had been appointed to the first Irish Senate in 1922, and was re-appointed for a second term in 1925 so he past the rest of his life concentrated in politics and he didn’t write many poems.
He died at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France, on 28 January 1939.[4] He was buried after a discreet and private funeral at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. His epitaph is taken from the last lines of "Under Ben Bulben", one of his final poems:
Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by
Alee & Monica.

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