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The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats
by W.B. Yeats
Subtitle: Consisting of Reveries over Childhood and Youth; The Trembling of the Veil; and Dramatis Personae.
Paperback, reissue, 416 pages
Published May 31st 1986 by Scribner Paper Fiction
(first published 1926)
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Here is why I find this book interesting and valuable: In a prefatory note, Yeats writes, "...I am writing after many years and have consulted neither friend, nor letter, nor old newspaper, and describe what comes oftenest into my memory." This makes for an almost casual structure to the work and is something akin to sitting and listening to Yeats recollect as he pleases and not according to any outline or plan. The ideal reader of the book would be well-read in the history of Ireland in the lat ...more
This is one of those books you want to chip away at. It's not really an autobiography, but an anthology of autobiographical essays, bits from journals, speeches, etc. That means Yeats assumes that any one reading these pieces will already have a vested interest in and familiarity with his subjects. He refers to contemporary people and political situations that average readers simply won't be familiar with. And his discussions of the various Theosophical initiatives are infused with metaphors and ...more
This book is not so much an intended autobiography as it is a collection of autobiographical writings that cover a large portion of the great poet's life. As such, there is some repetition of incidents, but they are individually and collectively instructive as there are nuances revealed about the writer in his reactions and opinions at the stage of life when the comments were penned. The same can be said about the friends, acquaintances and family members mentioned in the writings. An evolutiona ...more
Mr. Yeats definitely lived in some interesting times. It's probably a good thing to know something about Ireland from that time to better appreciate the book but one can still enjoy it for what it is. My only wish was that he would of talked more about his involvement with the Golden Dawn. He touched on meeting Mathers and being involved with him and some of his own experiments but that's it.
Aug 23, 2014 Lee Ann rated it did not like it · review of another edition
Er... well, this is awkward. I love Yeats's Celtic Twilight. I love his poetry. I love his collections of Irish folklore. I haven't tried reading his plays yet. I thought I would give his autobiography a chance. I made it some 50 or 55 pages in before finally giving up. Sorry, Yeats, but your childhood really wasn't all that exciting...
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 ...moreMore about W.B. Yeats...