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The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats, Volume IV: Early Essays is part of a fourteen-volume series under the general editorship of eminent Yeats scholars George Bornstein and George Mills Harper. These volumes include virtually all of the Nobel laureate's published work, in authoritative texts with extensive explanatory notes. Early Essays, edited by the internationally esteemed Yeats scholars George Bornstein and the late Richard J. Finneran, includes the contents of the two most important collections of Yeats's critical prose, Ideas of Good and Evil(1903) and The Cutting of an Agate(1912, 1919). Among the seminal essays are considerations of Blake, Shakespeare, Shelley, Spenser, and Synge, as well as an extended discussion of the Japanese Noh theatre. The first scholarly edition of these materials, Early Essays offers a corrected text and detailed annotation of all allusions. Several appendices gather materials from early printings which were later excluded, as well as illuminating black-and-white illustrations. Early Essays is an essential sourcebook for understanding Yeats's career as both writer and literary critic, and for the development of modern poetry and criticism. Here, Yeats works out many of his key ideas on poetry, politics, and the theater. He gives interpretations of writers critical to his development and presents a compelling vision of Ireland and the modern world during the last decade of the nineteenth century and first two decades of the twentieth. As T. S. Eliot remarked, Yeats "was one of those 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." This volume displays a crucial part of that history.
While working on a facsimile edition and transcription of W. B. Yeats's surviving early manuscripts, renowned Yeats scholar George Bornstein made a thrilling literary discovery: thirty-eight unpublished poems written between the poet's late teens and late twenties. These works span the crucial years during which the poet "remade himself from the unknown and insecure young student Willie Yeats to the more public literary, cultural, and even political figure W. B. Yeats whom we know today." "Here is a poetry marked by a rich, exuberant, awkward, soaring sense of potential, bracingly youthful in its promise and its clumsiness, in its moments of startling beauty and irrepressible excess," says Brendan Kennelly. And the Yeats in these pages is already experimenting with those themes with which his readers will become intimate: his stake in Irish nationalism; his profound love for Maud Gonne; his intense fascination with the esoteric and the spiritual. With Bornstein's help, one can trace Yeats's process of self-discovery through constant revision and personal reassessment, as he develops from the innocent and derivative lyricist of the early 1880s to the passionate and original poet/philosopher of the 1890s. Reading-texts of over two dozen of these poems appear here for the first time, together with those previously available only in specialized literary journals or monographs. Bornstein has assembled all thirty-eight under the title Yeats had once planned to give his first volume of collected poems. Under the Moon is essential reading for anyone interested in modern poetry.
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