Poetry, Drama and Prose

Author: W.B. Yeats

ISBN: 9780393974973
Pages: 518
Description: For the selections I read, I would give this collection about a 3.5, but looking at it as an entire overview of Yeat’s major works along with critical background I went with 4 stars rather than 3. I am a big fan of Norton critical editions (I’ve been a Norton supporter since undergrad), because they tend to pull together a lot of interesting and relevant background and critical material in addition to some of the most important and influential texts in the field of English lit.

As far as the Yeats collection goes, I like Yeats, but I am not a huge poetry fan. I think poetry requires a way of thinking that I’m simply not that accustomed to from reading plays and novels. Some of the poems here I love–“The Second Coming,” “September, 1916,” for instance–but then others simply didn’t do anything for me. I think a lot of the poems, especially those written to or about Maude Gonne, required a much more detailed background knowledge than I have (or the editors hinted at) in order to understand the allusions.

With the plays (much more my line), I like them, but Yeats was fundamentally not a playwright. As with a number of poets who also wrote plays (see T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral), some of Yeat’s plays sound more like poems with staging than actual plays. “On Baile’s Strand,” for instance, requires a lot of exposition, which means the entire opening section involves fairly little action. On the other hand, “Cathleen ni Houlihan” is an awesome play.
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2019-07-03T07:55:05+00:00 June 12th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Poetry, Drama and Prose