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Throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats -- Irish writer and premier lyric poet in English in this century -- produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our voca Throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats -- Irish writer and premier lyric poet in English in this century -- produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our vocabulary for cataclysmic personal and world events. The writings of his final years offer wisdom, courage, humor, and sheer technical virtuosity. T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "the greatest poet of our time -- certainly the greatest in this language, and so far as I am able to judge, in any language" and "one of the few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them." The Yeats Reader is the most comprehensive single volume to display the full range of Yeats's talents. It presents more than one hundred and fifty of his best-known poems -- more than any other compendium -- plus eight plays, a sampling of his prose tales, and excerpts from his published autobiographical and critical writings. In addition, an appendix offers six early texts of poems that Yeats later revised. Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition. These are supplemented by unobtrusive annotation and a chronology of the life. Yeats was a protean writer and thinker, and few writers so thoroughly reward a reader's efforts to essay the whole of their canon. This volume is an excellent place to begin that enterprise, to renew an old acquaintance with one of world literature's great voices, or to continue a lifelong interest in the phenomenon of literary genius.


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Throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats -- Irish writer and premier lyric poet in English in this century -- produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our voca Throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats -- Irish writer and premier lyric poet in English in this century -- produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our vocabulary for cataclysmic personal and world events. The writings of his final years offer wisdom, courage, humor, and sheer technical virtuosity. T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "the greatest poet of our time -- certainly the greatest in this language, and so far as I am able to judge, in any language" and "one of the few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them." The Yeats Reader is the most comprehensive single volume to display the full range of Yeats's talents. It presents more than one hundred and fifty of his best-known poems -- more than any other compendium -- plus eight plays, a sampling of his prose tales, and excerpts from his published autobiographical and critical writings. In addition, an appendix offers six early texts of poems that Yeats later revised. Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition. These are supplemented by unobtrusive annotation and a chronology of the life. Yeats was a protean writer and thinker, and few writers so thoroughly reward a reader's efforts to essay the whole of their canon. This volume is an excellent place to begin that enterprise, to renew an old acquaintance with one of world literature's great voices, or to continue a lifelong interest in the phenomenon of literary genius.

30 review for The Yeats Reader, Revised Edition: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose

  1. 4 out of 5

    James Henderson

    I have enjoyed the poetry of William Butler Yeats for many years as evidenced by my well-worn copy of his Complete Poems. But there is more to enjoy when considering this protean author for throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our vocabula I have enjoyed the poetry of William Butler Yeats for many years as evidenced by my well-worn copy of his Complete Poems. But there is more to enjoy when considering this protean author for throughout his long life, William Butler Yeats produced important works in every literary genre, works of astonishing range, energy, erudition, beauty, and skill. His early poetry is memorable and moving. His poems and plays of middle age address the human condition with language that has entered our vocabulary for cataclysmic personal and world events. "O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance?" ("Among School Children", p 105) The writings of his final years offer wisdom, courage, humor, and sheer technical virtuosity. T. S. Eliot pronounced Yeats "the greatest poet of our time -- certainly the greatest in this language, and so far as I am able to judge, in any language" and "one of the few whose history is the history of their own time, who are a part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them." The Yeats Reader is a comprehensive single volume that demonstrates the full range of Yeats's talents. It presents more than one hundred and fifty of his best-known poems plus eight plays, a sampling of his prose tales, and excerpts from his published autobiographical and critical writings. In addition, an appendix offers six early texts of poems that Yeats later revised. Also included are selections from the memoirs left unpublished at his death and complete introductions written for a projected collection that never came to fruition. These are supplemented by unobtrusive annotation and a chronology of the life. Yeats was a protean writer and thinker, and few writers so thoroughly reward a reader's efforts to essay the whole of their canon. This volume is an excellent place to begin that enterprise, to renew an old acquaintance with one of world literature's great voices, or to continue a lifelong interest in the phenomenon of literary genius.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zo

    Good volume for accessing the bulk of Yeats' most famous poetry while also dabbling in his non-fiction prose. The critical and autobiographical writings are at times beautiful and profound, and even when more mundane, remain amusing points of access into better understanding Yeats' mind. Because what an extraordinary mind it is! His belief in the mystical and convictions regarding poetry, symbols, language, tradition, myth, Ireland, etc are wonderful. He somehow combines a wide-eyed naivete with Good volume for accessing the bulk of Yeats' most famous poetry while also dabbling in his non-fiction prose. The critical and autobiographical writings are at times beautiful and profound, and even when more mundane, remain amusing points of access into better understanding Yeats' mind. Because what an extraordinary mind it is! His belief in the mystical and convictions regarding poetry, symbols, language, tradition, myth, Ireland, etc are wonderful. He somehow combines a wide-eyed naivete with an artistic intelligence that makes the ideas compelling enough to be taken seriously. At times I wonder if some of his writings about symbolism are similar to something like Northrop Frye's in that they actually seem to provide insight into technical/philosophical issues. It's something I would like to believe but unfortunately feel like I would need to examine more critically. Yeats' poetry was a revelation. I enjoy the antiquated diction and the poetic sincerity of most of his earlier work, but it is the later stuff (starting with A Vision and summiting in The Tower) his voice started having that distinctive ring that is characteristic of great poetry. I don't know what it is that allows certain lines to suddenly reverberate with beauty and power, part of it is about figuring out how to read the poet, but Yeats' later stuff abounds with such moments. His symbols fall in the perfect bandwidth between abstract and concrete, presenting images that can be linked together and formed into a sense, but resisting any too structured form that would limit their mystery. I need to return to his work to continue to get a better appreciation of it because already "The Second Coming," "Coming to Byzantium," "Byzantium," and "The Tower" have secured a place in that temple of the greatest poems I've encountered.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pyramids Ubiquitous

    I must have made a mistake in purchasing this book as I dislike these "samplings from across their ouvre" collections. I don't understand the appeal in reading a fragment of completed works. Really, I was just looking for the complete poems of Yeats. With that said, I took a dive into some of the poet's other works as represented in this compilation. Reading Yeats was irritating to me. I didn't find his poetry to be pleasurable; his early poems demand too much work of the reader and are too hopel I must have made a mistake in purchasing this book as I dislike these "samplings from across their ouvre" collections. I don't understand the appeal in reading a fragment of completed works. Really, I was just looking for the complete poems of Yeats. With that said, I took a dive into some of the poet's other works as represented in this compilation. Reading Yeats was irritating to me. I didn't find his poetry to be pleasurable; his early poems demand too much work of the reader and are too hopelessly forlorn, whereas his late poems are all so similar. I can do without the constant references that I'm supposed to just understand - I can do without the illusion of depth. With that said, I think that pretty frequently Yeats was capable of turning an amazing phrase or line. I found his plays to be infinitely more readable, but trivial overall due to their length and specificity. His autographical writings again brought irritation as his conceit was on full display in the selections provided. This was very tough for me to get through, despite how lyrical Yeats tends to be.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Kuper

    Yeats' work takes a turn right after "Sailing to Byzantium", where instead of writing about interesting concepts using vivid and fantastic detail, that impose many levels of depth, he just seems to critique and revisit his younger work, seemingly unhappy with it. Yeats' work takes a turn right after "Sailing to Byzantium", where instead of writing about interesting concepts using vivid and fantastic detail, that impose many levels of depth, he just seems to critique and revisit his younger work, seemingly unhappy with it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allen

    Really a great starting place for anyone interested in Yeats' oeuvre . . . Really a great starting place for anyone interested in Yeats' oeuvre . . .

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tortla

    What I've read of his poetry is generally more earnest and less entrancing than I like. I keep getting irked by the excessive italicization. And finding the repeated male perspectives on heterosexual relationships boring. One poem ("Ephemeral" was part or all of its title, I think) struck the right chord with me. But so far I can't bring myself to stop skimming and actually read the reader. Maybe I just need to be in a more poetic mood... EDIT: Reading/skimming bits from "The Tower" evoked Eliot What I've read of his poetry is generally more earnest and less entrancing than I like. I keep getting irked by the excessive italicization. And finding the repeated male perspectives on heterosexual relationships boring. One poem ("Ephemeral" was part or all of its title, I think) struck the right chord with me. But so far I can't bring myself to stop skimming and actually read the reader. Maybe I just need to be in a more poetic mood... EDIT: Reading/skimming bits from "The Tower" evoked Eliot and Pound. The same highly-allusive attempt to incorporate himself into the world he imagines as classically intellectual (pretentious). Kind of more cryptic in its meaning (to me) and less frustratingly incomprehensible in its allusions (which don't degenerate into nonsense sounds or flaunt their allusiveness with unhelpful footnotes or make me feel alienated and dumb by being in Greek).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    William Butler Yeats is without a doubt one of, if not my absolute, favorite poets in the whole world. I also have found many times through this reader that he was a pretty brilliant playwright. I can say without a doubt sitting at Coole Park, reading some of the poetry that was written there is one of the most complete literary experiences I've had. William Butler Yeats is without a doubt one of, if not my absolute, favorite poets in the whole world. I also have found many times through this reader that he was a pretty brilliant playwright. I can say without a doubt sitting at Coole Park, reading some of the poetry that was written there is one of the most complete literary experiences I've had.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sparkie Allison

    great collection of poetry, plays and more. I especially enjoyed the autobiographical writings that gave me a greater understanding of the man and his motivations. every time I read Yeats I have an urge to visit Ireland.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Read parts of this for my freshmen year Intro to Irish Lit class. The verdict's still out on what I really think of Yeats - hope to elaborate on that thought process in the future. Sometimes he speaks to me, and sometimes I don't have a clue what he's writing or why he wrote it. Read parts of this for my freshmen year Intro to Irish Lit class. The verdict's still out on what I really think of Yeats - hope to elaborate on that thought process in the future. Sometimes he speaks to me, and sometimes I don't have a clue what he's writing or why he wrote it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Like most books of poetry, this is read one or two at a time. May never actually "finish" the book. Like most books of poetry, this is read one or two at a time. May never actually "finish" the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    five stars for yeats, but the organization of this book is less than desirable. any good editor of poetry will include an index of first lines to make your searching easier.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    My favorite poem: Vacillation, Part IV. I loved the autobiographical writings, too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rerity

    first poem

  14. 5 out of 5

    Risa

    "The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose by W. B. Yeats (1997)" "The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose by W. B. Yeats (1997)"

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Ah, the incomparable Yeats. It was a pleasure to read him again as an adult and not in a university lecture. The boldness of his language strikes me differently now.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  17. 5 out of 5

    A J

  18. 4 out of 5

    kristin connor

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nima Khosrowshahian

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kira Brodie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Walters

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dinah

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joni-Marie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

  27. 4 out of 5

    Neil Shelley

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brady Jensen

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Badagliacca

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