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Remembering William Butler Yeats:
June 13, 1865–January 28, 1939

Yeats1903147 words

William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, playwright, and politician, was born on this day in 1865. One of the greatest literary figures of the 20th century, Yeats’ life and work straddle the great divide between Romanticism and Modernism. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

In life and in art, Yeats rejected modern rationalism, materialism, and egalitarianism. He saw them as coarsening and brutalizing.

Spiritually, Yeats was drawn to mysticism and the occult, influenced in particular by Emanuel Swedenborg and William Blake. Politically, like so many great literary artists of the first half of the 20th century, Yeats was drawn to fascism. To learn more about Yeats’ life, art, and politics, see the following works on this site:

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. rhondda
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this. I knew my English professors were wrong; lifting his work out of his life and beliefs.

  2. ReJedding
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Enoch Powell Centenary, June 16, 2012.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Also the 52nd anniversary of Francis Parker Yockey’s death.

  3. Jaego Scorzne
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    His later literary work shows a modern influence. Was this reflected in his politics as well? Or did he stay true blue? (Changing the Conservative Color to Red was a masterpiece of mind fucking. I asked a friend why and he said it was “because that’s what the color on the board was”.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Yeats’s modernist influences were young men like Ezra Pound. There’s no necessary conflict between modern art and Far Right politics. Yeats became increasingly radical in his last decades. Bolton’s article is a good summary.

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