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William Butler Yeats
Transcript of William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats: Early Life
William Butler Yeats: Young Poet
At the age of 15, William returned to Dublin. He attended the Metropolitan School of Art to study painting, where he then learned that he preferred poetry.
When the family moved back to London in 1887, Yeats became a professional writer.
Yeats became a director of theater and encouraged many playwrights.
Irish Easter Rising
In 1917 Yeats asked Iseult Gonne, Maud Gonne’s daughter, to marry him. She refused. Some weeks later he proposed to Miss Georgie Hyde-Lees and they were married that year. Together they had two children Anne Butler Yeats, and William Michael Yeats.
In 1889 Yeats met Maud Gonne (English-born Irish revolutionary, feminist, actress, and rhetorician) and fell in love. Yeats joined the National Irish Cause in attempt to get closer to Gonne.
Realism in Literature
Definition: the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly
This movement was a reaction against romanticism. Romanticism was an earlier movement that presented the world in much more idealized terms.
The stories, or plots, were simple and were secondary to the characters; the characters tended to be from the lower or middle class and spoke as people really did, not in poetic language;
Realism in art
The realists wanted to break away from the formal artistic styles and subjects of the past.
Their works typically portrayed ordinary, or working-class, people, as opposed to heroic, historic, biblical, or royal figures.
They also depicted scenes of traditional life, such as rural landscapes with farmers herding oxen or harvesting grain.
The realists sought to honor what they felt was the noble dignity of humble people leading simple lives.
The poem is a work that discusses the role of Irish soldiers (Pilots more specifically) fighting for the United Kingdom during a time when they were trying to establish independence for Ireland.
The airman in the poem is widely believed to be Major Robert Gregory, a friend of Yeats and son of Lady Augusta Gregory, Yeats' patron and co-founder of the Abbey Theater
Yeats waited until after the war to publish this poem.
Since the 1890s Yeats had been a part of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; a secret society devoted to the practice and study of occultism, metaphysics, and the paranormal. Georgie had also joined the society in 1914.
By: Tania Cazares and Denise Flores
"William Butler Yeats." : The Poetry Foundation.
The Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/william-butler-yeats#poet>
"William Butler Yeats - Facts". Nobelprize.org.
Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 19 Dec 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1923/yeats-facts.html>
Mann, Neil. ""The Second Coming" and "A Vision"" "The Second Coming"
and "A Vision" Neil Mann, 15 Apr. 2006. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.<http://www.yeatsvision.com/secondnotes.html>
Images: Google Images
Born: June 13, 1865, Sandymount, Ireland
Died: January 28, 1939, Menton, France
Son to lawyer, later turned painter, John Butler Yeats and wealthy Susan Mary Pollexfen
3 siblings: Jack, Elizabeth & Susan
They were raised in London.
His entire family was very artistic. Jack became a painter and his sisters were involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Three decades and four attempted marriage proposals later and Yeats learned that she had already had two children from an affair. Gonne then encouraged Yeats to rededicate himself to Irish nationalism, and he went on to produce nationalistic plays.
The Easter Uprising took place in April 1916 in Dublin
What they wanted was Irish independence and the removal of all aspects of British rule from the island.
Few people actually joined the rebellion. They were worried of their tactics and the possible British reactions
There were some organizations such as the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) and the Fenian Brotherhood that were dedicated to establishment of the Irish Independence.
They spent months planning the chance for rebellion against the British.
They had begun the uprising when the British had involved itself in the first World War, thinking it would give them the advantage.
Possibly as many as 200,000 joined the Irish Volunteers but only a few thousands were ever trained in a military manner.
The IRB and other movements were short of weapons.
Most of the law enforcement was done by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). There were about 10,000 police officers in the RIC
The RIC in Dublin did not carry arms but it had easy access to them. The British Army in Ireland had as many weapons as it needed – including armed personnel carriers, tanks and artillery guns.
The Ulster Volunteers had gained 35,000 rifles by August 1914; the Irish Volunteers had just 1000, and there were those in the Irish Volunteers who did not support what the IRB wanted.
The Rebellion for Irish Independence
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death
Marriage to Georgie Hyde Lees
Although their marriage wasn't based on love, they shared a deep belief in the occult. Days after their wedding, Yeats and Georgie practiced automatic writing, the psychic ability to unconsciously write for the spirits.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The Second Coming
Together they performed over four hundred sessions of automatic writing. Yeats studied and organized nearly four thousand pages of the writings to create theories about life and history. These writings also make up what he considers to be his best and most important book written.
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation"
A common theme of Yeat's poems was old age. Though they were written while he was still young. At sixty, he was faced with real, rather than imaginary physical decline.
He lived his last fifteen years of his life with incredible vitality and a lust for life.
Yeats faced death with courage. He had hopes of being reincarnated.
Within six months of his death he had written the poem "Under Ben Bulben". The ending "Cast a cold eye/ On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!" was carved on his gravestone.
Irish Rebellion Volunteers and their Weapon Shortage