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W. B. Yeats: A Life Volume 2: The Arch-Poet 1915-1939

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W. B. Yeats: A Life Volume 2: The Arch-Poet 1915-1939 Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Foster shows, in this learned and engaging biography, that Yeats's life, however elevated the realms in which it unfolded, was nothing if not messy....Foster is a historian rather than a literary scholar, and his disentangling of the complicated skein of Irish political and revolutionary activity over the broad period under consideration is one of the book's great strengths. But it is the fantasia of Yeats's personal life, rather than his various performances as a public man, that is most compelling." Christopher Cahill, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first volume in Roy Foster's magisterial biography of W.B. Yeats was hailed as "a work of huge significance" (The Atlantic Monthly) and "a stupendous historiographical feat" (Irish Sunday Independent). Now, the eagerly awaited second volume explores the complex poetic, political, and personal intricacies of Yeats's dramatic final decades, a period that saw the Easter Rebellion, the founding of the Irish state in 1922, and the production of Yeats's greatest masterpieces. In the conclusion of this first fully authorized biography, Foster brilliantly illuminates the circumstances — the rich internal and external experiences — that shaped the great poetry of Yeats's later years: "The Wild Swans at Coole," "Sailing to Byzantium," "The Tower," "The Circus Animals Desertion," "Under Ben Bulben," and many others. Yeats's pursuit of Irish nationalism and an independent Irish culture, his continued search for supernatural truths through occult experimentation, his extraordinary marriage, a series of tempestuous love affairs, and his lingering obsession with Maud Gonne are all explored here with a nuance and awareness rare in literary biography.

Foster gives us the very texture of Yeats's life and thought, revealing the many ways he made poetry out of the "quarrel" with himself and the upheaval around him. But this consummate biography also shows that Yeats was much more than simply a lyric poet and examines in great detail Yeats's non-poetic work — his essays, plays, polemics, and memoirs. The enormous and varied circle of Yeats's friends, lovers, family, collaborators and antagonists inhabit and enrich a personal world of astounding energy, artistic commitment and verve; while the poet himselfis shown returning again and again to his governing preoccupations, sex and death. Based on complete and unprecedented access to Yeats's papers and written with extraordinary grace and insight, W.B. Yeats, A Life offers the fullest portrait yet of the private and public life of one of the twentieth century's greatest poets.

Review:

"Again Foster approaches Yeats's memoirs with skepticism, shrewdly and scrupulously applying the historical facts to Yeats's self-made image and his poetry. The result adds a unique, superb perspective on Yeats..." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Marvelous.... The major poems are swiftly, meticulously and deeply read..... They startle one into a renewed sense of their magnificence.... Yeats is a great subject, none greater in 20th-century literature, and The Arch-Poet is the book he deserves, a classic." Adrian Frazier, New York

Review:

"Triumphant.... The Apprentice Mage gave promise of a masterwork and the promise is fulfilled in The Arch-Poet. What we have now is one of the great biographies, as affectionate as it is scholarly, intellectually equal to the tasks it sets itself.... Roy Foster exemplifies the virtues of that Irish intellect so often invoked by Yeats himself, independent, vigorous, liberal and, on occasion, consciously provocative." Seamus Heaney, Financial Times

Review:

"Magnificent.... The Yeats who emerges from these pages is allowed to be haughty and humble, polemicist and priest, prig and profligate, arch-poet in the sense of 'first poet' but also in the sense of 'clever, cunning, crafty, roguish, waggish.' Violet Martin's assessment of Yeats's impact on Irish poetry, that he had 'flung open a great window,' may now be justly applied to Foster's own achievement in W. B. Yeats: A Life." Paul Muldoon, The Times, London

Review:

"A model of the serious literary life. It is learned and scholarly, but the book never fails to carry its learning lightly. It is astonishingly detailed, more so than any other Yeats biography, but the details never clog or slow down the narrative.... His manner of presentation has a good humored sureness of touch throughout; this is no dry-as-dust final reckoning." The Economist

Review:

"An ardor steeled by judgment and prose that is all brains and style." Richard Eder, New York Times

Review:

"In this lively new book Foster captures all the richness of that reality, creating a balanced view of Yeats's poetry and his politics alike." Newsweek International

Review:

"Mr. Foster is fully equal to the demands of this many-sided story. He is both an urbane writer and a precise one. He marshals his facts with a skill that ensures that they never impede the narrative flow. He has a shrewd insight into the complications of Yeats's personality and a sure grasp of the social contexts within which the poet lived and moved." John Gross, Wall Street Journal

Review:

"I have never read a biography of any poet that has conveyed so clearly the genius of its subject and the talent of its author." Frank Kermode, Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

Based on complete and unprecedented access to Yeats's papers, this is the final volume in Foster's definitive biography of one of the world's greatest and most intriguing poets.

About the Author

Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Hertford College. His books include Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family, Lord Randolph Churchill: a Political Life (OUP, 1981), Modern Ireland 1600-1972, Paddy and Mr Punch, and The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland. The prize-winning first volume of this biography, W.B. Yeats, A Life. I: The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 was published by OUP in 1997.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Accidence and Coherence

Prologue: Crossways

1. Accomplishment and Noh, 1915-1916

2. Shades and Angels, 1916-1917

3. The Sense of Happiness, 1917-1919

4. A Feeling for Revelation, 1919-1920

5. Weight and Measure in a Time of Dearth, 1920-1921

6. Living in the Explosion, 1922-1924

7. Bad Writers and Bishops, 1924-1925

8. Vanity and Pride, 1925-1927

9. Striking a Match, 1927-1930

10. One Last Burial, 1930-1932

11. Struggles Towards Reality, 1932-1933

12. A New Fanaticism, 1933-1934

13. Passionate Metaphysics, 1934-1935

14. Fire and Eating, 1936-1937

15. Folly and Elegance, 1937-1938

16. Dying Like an Empire, 1938-1939

Footnotes

Appendices

Product Details

ISBN:
9780198184652
Author:
Foster, R. F.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, R. F.
Location:
Oxford
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
Poets, Irish
Subject:
Literature/English | British Literature | 20th C
Subject:
Ireland Intellectual life.
Subject:
Yeats, W. B
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Subject:
Ireland
Edition Description:
pacific duvelle black/blue index 452
Series Volume:
10
Publication Date:
20031231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
77 b/w illus.
Pages:
856
Dimensions:
9.42x6.42x2.10 in. 3.33 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Biography » Reference
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

W. B. Yeats: A Life Volume 2: The Arch-Poet 1915-1939 New Hardcover
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$96.75 Backorder
Product details 856 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780198184652 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Foster shows, in this learned and engaging biography, that Yeats's life, however elevated the realms in which it unfolded, was nothing if not messy....Foster is a historian rather than a literary scholar, and his disentangling of the complicated skein of Irish political and revolutionary activity over the broad period under consideration is one of the book's great strengths. But it is the fantasia of Yeats's personal life, rather than his various performances as a public man, that is most compelling." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Again Foster approaches Yeats's memoirs with skepticism, shrewdly and scrupulously applying the historical facts to Yeats's self-made image and his poetry. The result adds a unique, superb perspective on Yeats..."
"Review" by , "Marvelous.... The major poems are swiftly, meticulously and deeply read..... They startle one into a renewed sense of their magnificence.... Yeats is a great subject, none greater in 20th-century literature, and The Arch-Poet is the book he deserves, a classic."
"Review" by , "Triumphant.... The Apprentice Mage gave promise of a masterwork and the promise is fulfilled in The Arch-Poet. What we have now is one of the great biographies, as affectionate as it is scholarly, intellectually equal to the tasks it sets itself.... Roy Foster exemplifies the virtues of that Irish intellect so often invoked by Yeats himself, independent, vigorous, liberal and, on occasion, consciously provocative."
"Review" by , "Magnificent.... The Yeats who emerges from these pages is allowed to be haughty and humble, polemicist and priest, prig and profligate, arch-poet in the sense of 'first poet' but also in the sense of 'clever, cunning, crafty, roguish, waggish.' Violet Martin's assessment of Yeats's impact on Irish poetry, that he had 'flung open a great window,' may now be justly applied to Foster's own achievement in W. B. Yeats: A Life."
"Review" by , "A model of the serious literary life. It is learned and scholarly, but the book never fails to carry its learning lightly. It is astonishingly detailed, more so than any other Yeats biography, but the details never clog or slow down the narrative.... His manner of presentation has a good humored sureness of touch throughout; this is no dry-as-dust final reckoning."
"Review" by , "An ardor steeled by judgment and prose that is all brains and style."
"Review" by , "In this lively new book Foster captures all the richness of that reality, creating a balanced view of Yeats's poetry and his politics alike."
"Review" by , "Mr. Foster is fully equal to the demands of this many-sided story. He is both an urbane writer and a precise one. He marshals his facts with a skill that ensures that they never impede the narrative flow. He has a shrewd insight into the complications of Yeats's personality and a sure grasp of the social contexts within which the poet lived and moved."
"Review" by , "I have never read a biography of any poet that has conveyed so clearly the genius of its subject and the talent of its author."
"Synopsis" by , Based on complete and unprecedented access to Yeats's papers, this is the final volume in Foster's definitive biography of one of the world's greatest and most intriguing poets.
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