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The Celtic Twilight

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,379 ratings  ·  57 reviews
This edition of The Celtic Twilight is based on the expanded 1902 edition, which remains one of the best-known collections of Yeats' prose. Here he explores the longstanding connection between the people of Ireland and the inhabitants of the land of Faery.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Tark Classic Fiction (first published January 1st 1893)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Alex
In his youth, Yeats was a member of the Golden Dawn, an occult society; he wrote this book during that time, and it's widely seen as a manifesto about his belief in faeries and magic and such. And it is that - but it's not what you think. When he says
"Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet." (p. 4)
he's saying that he believes in magic, yes, but h
...more
Lyn
William Butler Yeats.

When I read this name I think of lyric Irish poetry and a Nobel prize.

Yeats was also a discerning student of Irish fantasy. The emerald isle is, to many, synonymous with legends of faeries and folk tales of the unseen world. In 1893 Yeats published Celtic Twilight, a collection of essays, sketches, and anecdotes all with imagery and language reminiscent of Ireland’s connections to a mystical past.

“Folk art is, indeed, the oldest of the aristocracies of thought, and because
...more
Tifany
A definite must-read for anyone interested in fairy tales, especially the Irish sort, as I've never found anything better. Yeats, of course, should be read for his own sake, anyway, and if you want more Yeats, go for MYTHOLOGIES, the version that includes both the Celtic Twilight and Yeats' own retellings, in prose, of Irish epic stories, as well as his own original tales. There's another Yeats collection of traditional tales--Irish Folk and Fairy Stories--that also includes the Celtic Twilight, ...more
Rodney
You can have your cones and interpenetrating gyres; for me, the unguarded, soppy Romanticism of The Celtic Twilight, based on the diaries the young Yeats kept as he tromped through Irish village life, is the best guide to the obsessions and occult yearnings that animate his poetry, early & late. The anecdotes and rambling asides capture the poet in his native habitat, head in the clouds and feet in the bog of an Ireland that never quite was, but that he needed to shake off the bluff rational ...more
Cwn_annwn_13
Yeats compiled these stories from various Irish hillbillies in the 1890s. I am a lover of all things Celtic as well as a lover of folklore, local legends, ghost stories, faerie lore, etc, but surprisingly I just didn't get sucked into this book like I thought I would.
Suzanne
Celtic Twilight is a meandering collection of tales and anecdotes, many of them dealing with ghosts and faerie folk, but a few of them just odd human interactions that tickled Yeats' imagination. With one or two exceptions, these are not folk tales in the usual sense; they are not narratives with characters, so much as spare accounts of some Irish individuals' encounters with the supernatural. If you are seeking complete stories, as I initially was, you will be disappointed.

However, the the col
...more
Anna Rakitianskaia
It was beautiful, especially after reading Yeats' autobiography. He was the kind of man whose life goal lay in chasing faeries, and this particular man happened to be damn good at it. The sidhe saddened him by beauty and stole the joy of ordinary things from him, but where would we get the extraordinary from if there was no-one to reach out for the unreachable? A pure example of first-grade sehnsucht, as old as the roots of the world, ever-insatiable, other-worldly. Weird that it is precisely th ...more
Perseis
"I have desired, like every artist, to create a little world out of the beautiful, pleasant, and significant things of this marred and clumsy world, and to show in a vision something of the face of Ireland to any of my own people who would look where I bid them"

Being a devoted fan of Yeats as a poet, this not-so-small collection of folk tales was the cherry on top of my hibernophile cake. I had big expectations towards it and this tome delivered wonderfully.

Since then i have also acquired Mytho
...more
Emma
Jan 13, 2014 Emma marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research-faeries
Available to read legally and free on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10459
A.M.
“Hope and Memory have one daughter and her name is Art…”
Yeats here recounts stories that were told to him by a people over the years, mostly Irish. He has a go at the Scots for how they treated their fae.
It reads as if it is a published notebook where he has scribbled down whatever story or fable somebody told him, so it is a mishmash of things, some only a paragraph or two long.
One tale is recognizable as Jack and the beanstalk. The giant even hums, the fee-fi-fo-fum song but this can’t be an e
...more
The Silent Reader
"Celtic" and "twilight" -- two such pretty words; and when I found them together in a title by W.B. Yeats I simply had to give it a try. When I began reading The Celtic Twilight I was expecting a collection of faerie tales. It proved to be a collection, alright, but it was more a book of articles or scribbles jotted down as and when Yeats got a hold of a story. These stories were mostly reports on what faerie legends and experiences he had gathered from Irish peasants, for the most part. One get ...more
Alex Andrasik
Dead brothers springing to life from a witch's green stone; towering Celtic queens visiting the kitchens of humble goodwives; blind singers accessing the height of human expression. This is the timbre of the Irish folktales collected here by the celebrated poet W.B. Yeats.

This book was not what I expected it to be, but that didn't turn out to be a problem. Less poetic history of the decline of Celtic civilization and more rambling fireside reminiscence of all the folklore Yeats picked up while g
...more
Judy Croome
Aug 27, 2012 Judy Croome rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: spiritual seekers, mystics,
In THE CELTIC TWILIGHT Yeats, the spiritual mystic and poet, is in ascendance over the Nobel prize winning playwright. He gathers a delightful assortment of old Irish Folktales dealing with the Faerie, and the world beyond the veil of understanding. The stories are told with a casual acceptance of the existence of spiritual truths beyond our rational knowledge, tinged with embarrassment at that acceptance.

Underpinning the beautiful, lyrical writing, lies the melancholy of a gentle race, a mysti
...more
Byurakn
A must read for those who are interested in Irish folklore!

And a quote from the end:
In a society that has cast out imaginative tradition, only a few
people--three or four thousand out of millions--favoured by their own
characters and by happy circumstance, and only then after much labour,
have understanding of imaginative things, and yet "the imagination is
the man himself." The churches in the Middle Age won all the arts into
their service because men understood that when imagination is
impoverished
...more
Derek Davis
Maybe it really deserves a full five stars, but it could use a little more tightening and underlying coherence -- even if it is one man's idiosyncratic collection of local stories on the faerie people of Ireland. Forget that , though. Yeats' mind walking the ridge between reason and acceptance of the marvelous-unlikely is a wonder to read. He pinpoints the population's strangely accepting outlook on the "other" people of the countryside, who live just beyond visibility and seem to turn up, more ...more
Timothy Ferguson
I wanted to like this recording, and so far as it goes, it’s fine. The problem, I suppose is that Yeats was one of the founders of his discipline, and so later people, building on his work, have eclipsed him. It is an interesting read if you are fascinated by folklore, but more modern folklorists have done far better work since.

This review was first posted on book coasters
Julie
Ugh

Did I really just give Yeats two stars? Yes, I did, and I am not happy about it. This book reads as if Yeats is simply transcribing conversations, complete with lone trains of thought that ride off into nowhere. It simply was not enjoyable to read. I really wanted to love it, but I could not get past the choppy, sometimes ambiguous writing.
Lexi
In a small fashion, Yeats acted for Ireland as the Brothers Grimm did for Germany. Some of the tales Yeats collected are bound in this book, along with some footnotes containing Yeats' observations and similar material.

I highly recommend this book for anyone looking into Irish Faerie beliefs, whether religious or not. There is also a fair amount of cultural information, and quite a few sections on ghosts. Because the book is meant to revolve around Faeries, I felt this detracted from the overal
...more
Kathy L. Brown
At the turn of the 19th century, Yeats and friends collected any and all Irish folktales they could find from the rapidly dwindling rural, Gaeilge-speaking population. Celtic Twilight is part poet's journal, ghostbuster's psychic investigation dossier, and part ethnographer's field notes. Yeats presents a the variety of Good People and shades who inhabit the Other Realms. At times, Yeats convincingly reproduces the narrators' voices, at others, the material inspires his own poetry.
But the under
...more
Miriam Joy
I fear this rather ancient and battered copy may be missing its final few pages, since it ends in the middle of a sentence, but I've read enough of it to be able to offer an opinion. It's not quite what I expected -- it's a series of observations and anecdotes, related mostly secondhand, to the extent where it's hard to tell what Yeats is condoning and what he's merely relating. But it's an interesting perspective to have and there are many interesting remarks about the nature of folklore.
kelly Harris
It was the most horrible book I've ever read!

The Gobi chick density chick ducky gift finch Vaughn chic high gOvT broking foot truth chug chin fungi fight fished dyed Fetch goto effigy studio.On givinG shui goto touch.
Charlie Hyde
This is an excellent collection of folklore, but Yeats' presentation is about so much more. This book does an excellent job of deriding the rationalism and skepticism of his day (and ours). The magical universe is an exciting place, and a place in the modern world needs to be carved out for it.

There are overtones of spirituality throughout most of the tales. The best parts are the events that the writer claims he experienced. These stories would fit right into any book on trances, astral project
...more
Annie
Mar 31, 2015 Annie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Celtic lore and beautiful imagery
Recommended to Annie by: Saw online
This was a nice and quick read for me. It was very beautiful and poetic and had stunning imagery. Each little tale was enthralling and wonderful. Though I did have to keep google open so I could look up some of the allusions and such. Overall I love the charming fairy/fantasy elements.
Rodney
You can have your cones and interpenetrating gyres; for me, the unguarded, soppy Romanticism of The Celtic Twilight, based on the diaries the young Yeats kept as he tromped through Irish village life, is the best guide to the obsessions and occult yearnings that animate his poetry, early & late. The anecdotes and rambling asides capture the poet in his native habitat, head in the clouds and feet in the bog of an Ireland that never quite was, but that he needed to shake off the bluff rational ...more
Rodney
You can have your cones and interpenetrating gyres; for me, the unguarded, soppy Romanticism of The Celtic Twilight, based on the diaries the young Yeats kept as he tromped through Irish village life, is the best guide to the obsessions and occult yearnings that animate his poetry, early & late. The anecdotes and rambling asides capture the poet in his native habitat, head in the clouds and feet in the bog of an Ireland that never quite was, but that he needed to shake off the bluff rational ...more
Marcele
Interesting take on fairies an other folklore myths, but the writing made the book less attractive.
Littleboat
Nostalgic fairy tales
Sarah Jane
I didn't expect to like this book, but I ended up really enjoying it. Yeats attempts, not entirely successfully, to objectively document numerous Irish folktales about faeries and magic. Yeats obviously has a deep respect for these stories and people. The book takes a few chapters to get into, but in the end it's definitely worth reading. Nice and short, too.
Lisa
Whatever review of this I have, don't listen. I'm jaded and will give it 5 stars because W.B. Yeats is one of my best friends in my head and his poetry can do no wrong, so I'm going out on a branch to say his prose will be perfection. Yay run-on thought! But really. I have photographs of this man in my house and my office. I am creepy level attached to his writing.
Stephanie
A very good collection of Irish faery tales.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Celtic Twilight 1 22 Jan 03, 2015 06:41PM  
  • The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries
  • The Vanishing People: Fairy Lore and Legends
  • The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofore Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies
  • Meeting the Other Crowd
  • The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves and Other Little People
  • The Secret Commonwealth Of Elves, Fauns And Fairies: (Forgotten Books)
  • Celtic Myths and Legends
  • Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia
  • At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things
  • Women in Celtic Myth: Tales of Extraordinary Women from the Ancient Celtic Tradition
  • Dictionary of Celtic Mythology
  • Celtic Myths and Legends
  • Classic Celtic Fairy Tales
  • Celtic Heritage
  • Celtic Fairy Tales
  • Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland
  • Irish Folk & Fairy Tales Omnibus
  • Irish Folk Tales
29963
William Butler Yeats (pronounced /ˈjeɪts/) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British 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 along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, se ...more
More about W.B. Yeats...
The Collected Poems Irish Fairy and Folk Tales Selected Poems Poetry, Drama and Prose Selected Poems and Four Plays

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“We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.” 79 likes
“One loses, as one grows older, something of the lightness of one's dreams; one begins to take life up in both hands, and to care more for the fruit than the flower, and that is no great loss perhaps.” 38 likes
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