Synopses & Reviews
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surviving early manuscripts, renowned Yeats scholar George Bornstein made a thrilling literary discovery: thirty-eight unpublished poems written between the poet's late teens and late twenties.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, awk-ward, 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.
Eavan Boland This is a splendid and essential piece of editing and a poignant addition to Yeats scholarship.
Seamus Heaney This is completely entrancing material, showing Yeats as a very young man already enthralled by "the fascination of what's difficult" in art. George Bornstein edits lucidly and thoroughly, so that the book will appeal not only to Yeats specialists but to anyone with an interest in the choices and chances that contribute to poetic composition, and ultimately to the construction of a poetic identity.
Richard Wilbur These poems show that the early Yeats had a long way to go before he would come into his force. But they are also fascinating for their incipient themes and attitudes, and all scholars and devotees of Yeats must be grateful to George Bornstein for making them available.
About the Author
William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. Distinguished Yeats scholar George Bornstein
has written and collaborated on numerous books and articles on Yeats, Pound, Stevens, Eliot, and modernism. He has taught at the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland, and worked as an editor on the Collected Works of W. B. Yeats series. He has been a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is a professor of English at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he lives with his wife and children.