William Butler Yeats: Notes (1)

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Lake Isle of Inisfree”: When Yeats writes of ‘the deep heart’s core’ in his “Lake Isle of Inisfree”, he may be stealing a phrase to Rose Kavanagh in her poem on “Gerald Griffin”. In that poem, Kavanagh imagines Griffin living and writing in ‘the London gloom’ which ‘barred the heaven’s blue / From thy deep Celtic eyes’ - and sending his ‘music’ - i.e., poems, and in particular “Gille Machree” - back ‘o’er the waves to Ireland’s holy shore’. He does so, in her imagining, rather as St. Patrick is called back to Ireland by the people (or the spirit) of the country: ‘’twas from her deep heart’s core / She called thee: ‘“Gille Machree,” come home, I pray - / In my green lap of shamrocks sleep, asthore!’ (See Rose Kavanagh and Her Verses, ed. Matthew Russell, S. J., Dublin: M. H. Gill 1909, p.40; also under Kavanagh, q.v., Notes, infra.)

Hibernian Tales - or, properly, Royal Hibernian Tales is a rare chapbook, once widely known and cited by W. M. Thackeray in his Irish Sketchbook (1842). From it Yeats derived his story “Donald and His Neighbours” which he included in Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888), p.299ff. [see epub version -online]. There is an article on the book by Seamus O Duilearga in n Bealoideas (1940) which makes reference to Yeats and Thackeray ... - see JSTOR first page, attached.

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Cathleen Ni Houlihan (I): the phrase ‘the walk of a queen’ is to be found in in Emily Lawless’s Grania: : The Story of an Island (London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1892).

Cathleen Ni Houlihan - who is she?: A. N. Jeffares and A. S. Knowland omit to give any source of the name Ni Houlihan although they do supply an entry on the title of the play in the Commentary on the Plays (1975, p.32). There does not appear to be an Irish folklore precedent, nor - in particular - any established association with the Jacobite aisling and the spéirbean which acts as an embodiment of the idea of the dispossession Catholic nation. However, the first story of T. Crofton Croker’s Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland (1825-28; rep. 1834, 1859, &c.), entitled “The Legend of Knocksheogowna” concerns a character Larry Houlihan who makes a bargain with a farmer whose cattle and goods are being pilfered by fairies to the detriment of his capacity to pay his rent. Larry braves the fairy mound and makes a treaty with the Queen of the Fairies, which results in free substenance from the farmer. Yeats certainly knew the story as he included tales recorded by Croker in his own Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888).
  He must also have known that Houlihan was cognate with Hooligan, the standard English pejorative for uncivilised (or simply uncivic) Irish immigrants to Britain in the late nineteenth century. To this extent, Cathleen Ni Houlihan - and, my implication, Countess Cathleen - are responses and ripostes to the anti-Irish sentiment of a period when Irish names tended to connote violence and even, as in the case of Moriarty, anarchist threat to Anglo-Saxon civilisation (vide Moriarty in Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and the crime-world mastermind in the Superman comic series.)

Note also that Croker’s Preface to the second part of Fairy Legends and Traditions [... &c.] Part II (1828), contains a precedent for Yeats’s use of the term ‘twilight’ - as in ‘Celtic twilight’ - in a context charged with the suggestion that superstition, and particularly the belief in changelings, may be dangerously allied with social violence: ‘[...] my aim has been to bring the twilight tales of the peasantry before the view of the philosopher; as, if suffered to remain unnotived, the latent belief in them may long have lingered among the inhabitants of the wild mountain and lonesome glen, to retard the progress of their civilization.’ (For longer extract, see under Croker, infra.)

[Note that the name Harrington is considered to be the common anglicisation of Ó hUallachan [or Uailleacáin] in Co. Cork rather than the English name it appears to be - the anomaly being supposedly due to the English ear of the recording clerk. There is also a celebrated Irish dance called the “The Hullachan Jig”, or “The Hullachan Reel”, a double jig - viz.,

The Fiddler's Companion: ‘“The Reel of Tulloch” has for several centuries been used in Scotland for a specific dance for males which is always performed to the tune, and it has been quite dominent at Highland dances for several centuries. Instructions for the popular dance, but not the melody, appear in the Menzies Manuscript (contained in the Atholl Collection of the Sandeman Library, Perth), 1749, which carries the alternate title “The Mighty Pretty Valley”. J. Scott Skinner, the celebrated violinist who was also dancing master, routinely taught the dance to his students throughout the latter 19th century. Another “Reel of Tulloch (Ruidhleadh Thulachain)”, for two mixed couples, was composed around 1800, and appears in dance literature in 1844 (in The Ballroom Annual), though it was mentioned in accounts of dances from the year 1819 onward. Flett & Flett conclude the dance was originally a “society” dance which was developed at the Breadalbane Balls. It was a particular favorite of Queen Victoria, states Hunter (1979), who first witnessed its performance at a ball at Taywouth Castle given by the Marquis of Breadalbane (the dancers on the occasion were the Marquis of Abercorn, the Hon. Fox Maule, Cluny Macpherson and Davidson of Tulloch). In most parts of Scotland the dance was performed to the tune ‘The Reel of Tulloch” but in Roxburghshire and Berwickshire, where the dance was often known as “The Hullachan Jig”, a double jig such as “The Irish Washerwoman” was played. For an extensive discussion of the dance and its origins see Flett & Flett, Traditional Dancing in Scotland (1964), pp.132-55. See “Ceolas” > The Fiddler’s Companion - online [search results for O Hullachan; 23.12.2011.]

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Cathleen Ni Houlihan (II):  In ‘Nationality and Imperialism’, “AE” [ George Russell] wrote: ‘The national spirit, like a beautiful woman, cannot or will not reveal itself wholly while a coarse presence is near, an unwelcome stranger in possession of the home. It is shy, hiding itself away in remote valleys, or in haunted mountains, or deep in the quiet of hearts that do not reveal themselves.’ (Lady Gregory, ed., Ideals in Ireland, 1901; rep. in Mark Storey, ed., Poetry and Ireland Since 1800: A Source-book, Routledge, p.143.)

Cathleen Ni Houlihan (III): “Plan Kathleen” was the name given by the IRA for a plan of German invasion during the Emergency [see DIH].

 

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Wanderings of Oisin: the ending of the poem, in which Oisin professes that he would be happier with his pagan companions in Hell than with the saints in Heaven - ‘I will go to Caoilte, and Conan, and Bran, Sceolan, Lomair, / And dwell in the house of the Fenians, be they in flames or at feast’ - is reminiscent of the tradition of service to ladies described by C. S. Lewis in The Allegory of Love (1936): ‘Frauendienst may be any of these, or any combination of them. It may even be the open enemy of religion - as when Aucassin roundly declares that he would rather follow all the sweet ladies and goodly knights to hell than go without them to heaven.’ [chap. 1; p.22; see full text of Lewis, op. cit., attached.]

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The Oxford Book of Modern Verse (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1936), was greeted harshly, Auden calling it the worst book ever issued under the Clarendon imprint as including Margaret Ruddock and 17 pages of Buddhist poems by Lady Gerald (Dorothy) Wellesley, which Yeats had actually doctored while also producing good poems of his own from her originals, such as ‘The Three Bushes’; other women-poets incl. were ‘Michael Field’, Lady Gregory, Mary Coleridge, Alice Meynell, Vita Sackville-West, Edith Sitwell (19pp.), and Sylvia Townsend Warner; along with 14 of T. S. Eliot, as well as 17 poems by Oliver St. John Gogarty (‘but no one will count’), while excluding Austin Clarke to the latter’s intense chagrin. Yeats was criticised especially for excluding Wilfred Owen and other war poets who ‘plead for the suffering of their men’, since ‘passive suffering is not a theme for poetry’ (Introduction).

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Golden Dawn (1): The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, fnd. in Paris by Stanislas de Guaïta as Kabbalistic Order of the Rosy Cross, 1883 - though supposedly based on earlier tradition established by a certain medieval Fr. Rosenkreuz. Mme Blavatsky wrote of the motto (Demon est Deus Inversus) espoused by Yeats: ‘This symbolic sentence in its many-sided forms is certainly most dangerous and iconoclastic in the face of all the dualistic later religions - or rather theologies - especially so in the light of Christianity.’ (H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (I, pp.411-24); quoted by Virginia Moore in The Unicorn, VI: 29, n.; see The Arcane Archive [online.] 

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Golden Dawn (2): The Golden Dawn formed by Freemasons of the thirty-third degree, lead by Samuel Liddell Mathers, called McGregor Mathers out of pride of Scottish ancestry; Yeats was involved in both organisations; joined Theosophical Soc. in 1888; sought membership of the Golden Dawn in 1890; Golden Dawn embodied the idea of the Kabbala (Qaballah) and the Tree of Life, composed of ten emanations, called the Sephiroth, arranged in two columns of three and a middle column of four; the divine essence is believed to purest at the top of the Middle Pillar; at the bottom is Malkuth, the kingdom of physical matter; adepts may pass upwards by grades or stages, but the top three Sephiroth are not attainable by those in the middle of an incarnation; only if the abyss or void between the three top Sephiroth and the Lower Seven is deliberately passed, divinity can only come in bursts of intuition or inspiration; the Kabbala is attended by three dominant symols of which the rose is most important; it is divided into three concentric circles, each segmented, viz, the Tree Mothers, the Seven Planets, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac; a candidate preparing to enter the inner order of the Golden Dawn performs an initiation called Rubea Rosea or Arum Crucis; vision is not a passive regard by a gazing with active and transform imaginative power through knowledge; ‘revival’ of literature was, in Yeats’s mind, subordinate to the revival of theosophical lore in the modern world. See Graham Hough, The Mystery Religion of W. B. Yeats (Sussex: Harvester Press 1984); Okifumi Komescu, The Double Perspective of Yeats’s Aesthetic (NJ: Barnes & Noble 1984); Peter Kuch, Yeats and AE: The Antagonism that Unites Dear Friends (Barnes & Noble 1986).]

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Jacob Bryant, author of A New System; or, An Analysis of Ancient Mythology, 2 vols., held in Coole Park Library, with a 13-line autograph note by W. B. Yeats, sold at Sothebys in 1972 and purchased by F. Edwards at £260. Yeats’s note as follows: ‘Bryant [sic] had a great influence on William Blake. This work especially influenced him so far as I can judge from a rather hasty search in it ... the influence of Bryant is strong in the later Prophetic Books, Jerusalem particularly. ... Bryant made Blake’s symbolism rather [?arbitrary] and ugly, I think.’ WBY further notes that the book was not available in the British Library when he was writing on Blake. (Signed & dated 1901) The book was acquired by Richard Gregory in 1779 in a contemp. tree calf gilt copy ‘Bound by Baumgarten’ - an elusive craftsman - acc. to bookseller’s hand-written note the verso of the front free endpaper of each vol.) See Sotheby Sale : Printed Books formerly in the Library at Coole, The Property of Lady Gregory, London: Sotheby & Co., Auction Catalogue, 20-21 March 1972; Lot 70.)

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Walter Pater: though influenced by his style - pervasively in the esoteric fiction - Yeats ultimately formed a dismissive idea of the stylistic master of the aesthetes: ‘Surely the ideal of culture expressed by Pater can only create feminine souls. The soul becomes a mirror not a brazier.’ (“Estrangement: Extracts from a Diary Kept in 1909”, in Autobiographies, 1955, p.477; quoted in G. J. Watson, ed., W. B. Yeats: Short Fiction, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1995, p.258 [notes to “Rosa Alchemica”].

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Algernon Swinburne: At the death of Swinburne Yeats told his sister: ‘I am the King of the Cats’; quoted in Jeffrey Meyers, Manic Power: Robert Lowell and His Circle (London; Macmillan 1987, p.26.) The sentence was echoed by Roethke at Yaddo in May 1950. Meyers writes of ‘[t]he American emphasis on immediate success, the idea of art as a competitive business and a gladiatorial conception of the writer, encouraged by Hemingway …’

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Oscar Wilde: Wilde wrote a review of Yeats’s Wanderings of Oisin (1889), praising ‘its nobility of treatment and nobility of subject matter, delicacy of poetic instinct, and richness of imaginative resource’ (Artist as Critic, ed. Ellmann, p.150). Note also that Wilde employs the phrase ‘terrible beauty’ in Dorian Gray (1890), Chap. 8 [remarked by John Wilson Foster, ‘Against Nature? Science and Oscar Wilde’, in Between Shadows: Modern Irish Writing and Culture, Dublin: IAP 2009, p.44, n.8.)

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Arthur Symons: Symons visited the Aran Islands with W. B. Yeats [1895] and wrote that he felt: ‘[s]o far from civilisation, so much further out of the world than I have ever been before’. Further: ‘We seemed also to be venturing among an unknown people, who, even if they spoke our own language, were further away from us, more foreign than people who spoke an unknown language and lived beyond other seas.’ (‘Cities and Sea-Coasts and Islands’, London 1918, p.303, 306; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism, UCG 1972, p.28.)

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T[homas] Sturge Moore (1870-1944), friend and illustrator of Yeats: a box of his papers (25 ft. & 1 oversize paper) are held in the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University, comprising chiefly his correspondence with Charles Wilson (Willington, Co. Durham, England) but also containing Pen and ink drawings of the binding of Yeats’ Reveries, a Bookplate designed by Moore [entitled] “Leda and the Swan”, and a Pen and ink drawing of the binding of Yeats’ Reveries [oversize]. (See online at Emory UL online; accessed 28.09.2010.)

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James Joyce: Joyce attended the première of Yeats The Countess Cathleen (8 May 1899), watching from the gods; clapped vigorously at Florence Farrs singing of the lyric “Who Goes with Fergus?”, though surrounded by Irish-Ireland protesters incl. Skeffington, who protests against the ‘type of our people [as] a loathesome brood of apostates’ in the Freeman’s Journal (10 May 1899); later told his brother Stanislaus that he counted Cathleen Ni Houlihan by Yeats and Gregory ‘political claptrap’ (My Brother’s Keeper, p.187).

Daniel Corkery: In “Seamus - I”, a story in The Hounds of Banba (1920), Corkery writes of the young woman Monica O’Sullivan: ‘Of Monica, Seamus used always to speak, to speak quite openly, in the phrase Naisi uses of Deirdre in Mr. Yeats’s play, “My Eagle!” - and we never cavilled at it. [...] Was ever any other girl so much of a piece? - figure, bearing, voice, spirit? Her background that windy night was one of the myths - the story of Emer, of Fand, of Deirdre. / She greeted me in Irish [...]’. (p.80.)

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Oswald Spengler: Yeats’s personal library - now held in the National Library of Ireland - contains copies of The Decline and Fall of the West, respecting which 45 and 96 sheets of photocopy annotations were made by Roger Parisious in 1968. (See the selected list of many such annotations in his library, attached.)

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Walter Wentz (Fairy faith): In his personal library Yeats held The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries (1909), a PhD. thesis by Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz, in a complementary copy supplied by the author to Lady Gregory (See the selected list of many such annotations in his library, attached.)

George Orwell: A copy of the Collected Poems [1933] (Macmillan 1939), formerly owned by George Orwell and at one time by Richard Rees, is held in the National Library of Wales. [COPAC record, online; accessed 22.10.2010.]

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The Cornell Yeats - Introduction: ‘The volumes in this series will present the manuscripts of W. B. Yeats’s poems (all extant versions), plays (complete insofar as possible) and other materials (including selected occult writings) from the rich archives preserved in the collection of Senator Michael B. Yeats, the National Library of Ireland, and elsewhere. The primary goal of the editors is to achieve the greatest possible fidelity in transcription. Photographic facsimiles will be used extensively to supplement the texts. … They will be essential reference works for scholars who wish to establish authoritative tests of the published works.’ Note: 2 items at Emory (Stephen Enniss, Curator of the Literary Collections at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory Univ.); also items from MBY (Michael Yeats) and NYPL. Bibl. cites Edward O’Shea, A Descriptive Catalog of W. B. Yeats’s Library (NY & London: Stanford UP 1984). See also Cornell Series as listed on the publisher’s web site, infra [copy] and in Ricorso [infra].

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London diner (1): Yeats dined with Douglas Hyde at the Unwins’ on 6 March only to find out that Mrs Fisher Unwin is daughter of ‘the great Cobden, MP’; he next takes Douglas Hyde to the Cheshire Cheese. (See Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde, p.161.)

London diner (2): Yeats was dining with others in London when news of the 1916 Easter Rising arrives, 25 April 1916; responds to executions of Pearse and others with “Easter 1916”, written between May and September, first printed in edn. of 25 copies, 1917, and published in book-form at the height of the War of Independence in 1920.

Scrambled Irish: Yeats contributed “The Irish Censorship” to The Spectator (29 Sept. 1928), asserting that ‘they do not understand that you cannot unscramble eggs’; also contributed “The Censorship and Thomas Aquinas” to Irish Statesman, quoting Aquinas in refutation of the puritanical usage of the term ‘indecent’ (to mean ‘calculated to excite sexual passion’) in the Bill of 1929, writing of Raphael’s representation of the Blessed Virgin ‘an entirely voluptuous body’ with ‘all the patience of his sexual passion’.

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Scraps & films: Scrapbooks containing cuttings of Yeats newspaper and magazine articles, with his manuscripts notes and alterations, are held in NLI as MS Books 12147 and 12148; microfilms of United Ireland and Dublin Daily Express held in Univ. of Illinois Library. (See John Frayne, ed., Uncollected Prose, 1970; Pref., p.12.)

Minus apparatus: There was a chorus of regrets among the critics at the time of the several Macmillan editions of his prose that these volumes were delivered without scholarly apparatus; Herbert Read, in ‘What Yeats Believed’, review of Essays and Introductions, in Listener (9 March, 1961), remarked that ‘this collection of what Yeats called his “critical prose” appears with a minimum of editing and no index. It has an introduction written by Yests in 1937, but the publishers do not tell us why it has taken twenty-four years to produce the book, the proofs of which were seen and corrected by the author shortly before his death. There is nothing within the volume to explain the origin and first appearance of the various items … All this is a pity, because the volume is important for an understanding of Yeats’s mind and development, and the special introductions which he wrote for this volume, for his Plays, and for the Works as a whole are published here for the first time.’ (Listener, q.p.); See also attitude expressed by Richard Murphy in review of Explorations [Rx].

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Marianne Moore saw Yeats lecture at Brooklyn, NY, in 1932 and wrote: ‘he is hearty, smiling, benevolent and elegant with a springiness and vigor that no invalid could very well counterfeit … You could never hear more finished speaking or a finer manner; he has the hand of a hereditary royalist who never picked up a stone or touched his own shoes’ (Letters, ed. Bonnie Costello, Celeste Goodridgee and Cristanne Miller, Faber 1998; reviewed by Nicholas Jenkins, Times Literary Supplement, 22 May 1998, p.3.)

Una Ellis Fermor attributes the power of Yeats’s language to its origin in the speech of Irish peasants, arguing that ‘the unconscious and spontaneous revelation of the living imagination’ was embodied in ‘the living speech of the people of Ireland in his own day’ (1964, p.62). [See Loreto Todd, The Language of Irish Literature, 1989, p.73]. ALSO, Yeats knew that words had to be allied to ‘a powerful and passionate syntax’ (Essays and Introductions, pp.521-22; Loreto, op. cit., p.74]

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Coole Park” (1st Draft): ‘These woods are in their autumn colours / But the Coole Water is low’: first draft of “Coole Park” (Quoted in Brenda Maddox, Yeats’s Ghosts: The Secret Life of W. B. Yeats, NY: HarperCollins 1999, p.35.)

The Herne’s Eggwas rejected by the Abbey Theatre as obscene in 1938; The Death of Cuchulain was first staged by Austin Clarke’s Irish Lyric Theatre Co., Dublin, in 1945 (DES Maxwell, 1984, 134).

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Conor Cruise O’Brien remarks on Yeats’s inveterate use of ‘violent’ as a term of encomium, e.g., ‘Cuchulain Comforted’: ‘violent and famous, strode among the dead.’ (Passion and Cunning, 1988, q.p.). Noe also that the story of Cruise O’Brien’s successfully getting Yeats to admit that he has not read Carlyle (but his wife has) is told in an interview with R. M. Smyllie in W. R. Rodgers, Irish Portraits and reprinted in Patricia Boylan, All Cultivated People (1988), p.34.

Willie Says No!: Denis Ireland remarks of Yeats’s attitude to Ulster: ‘As for Willie Yeats, factory chimneys and fairies were assumed to cancel one another out […].’ (From the Jungle of Belfast, 1973, p.18; quoted in F. L. S Lyons, ‘Yeats and Victorian Ireland’, in A. Norman Jeffares, ed., Yeats, Sligo and Ireland [Irish Literary Studies 6], Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980.)

Wasteful virtues: Epigraph for all issues of Threshold taken from Yeats’s The King’s Threshold, ‘Cry that not a man alive would ride among the arrows with high heart / or scatter with an open hand, had not our heady craft / commanded wasteful virtues.’

Irish heirman: While staying at Coole Yeats caused Robert Gregory to feel jealous and antipathy not least because he drank Sir William’s vintage Tokay.

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Raging youths: Richard Ellmann quotes Maud Gonne’s autobiography, in Yeats: The Man and the Masks (1948; rev. edn. 1962), where she speaks of his autobiography and the fact that they gave little indication of the intensity and enthusiasm which raged in his youth since the self-possessed old man had buried the extravagant boy; Frank O’Connor said ‘Every time I leave the old man I feel like a thousand dollars’; “AE” (George Russell) called him ‘The Poet of Shadows’ in Some Irish Essays (1906). [pp.1-4]

Quit Ireland?: David Pierce reports the discovery in Melville library of a letter of 1 Feb. 1923 in which, writing from Merrion Sq. in the thick of the Civil War, George Yeats (who was then staying at the Savile Club, London) attempts to persuade her husband not to contemplate leaving Ireland for good. (See Times Literary Supplement, Letters, 1 Dec. 1995, p.15.)

Hugh Lane Gallery: WBY signed a letter to The Irish Times (Dec. 1904; printed 5 Jan. 1905), appealing for donations to the value of £30,000 or £40,000 to purchase the collection of impressionist paintings ‘chosen by experts from the Staats-Froves and Durand-ruel Collections, and admitted to be the finest representation of modern French art outside Paris’, currently showing at the Royal Hibernian Academy. with Jane Barlow, Augusta Gregory, S. H. Butcher, Douglas Hyde, Edith Oe. Somerville, Martin Ross, Emily Lawless, W. B. Yeats, Geo. W. Russell (“AE”). (Denson, op. cit, p.54.)

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Horace Plunkett wrote in his diary entry about Yeat as ‘the young Poet - a rebel - a mystic - an ass - but really a genius in a queer way’ (cited in Peter McDonald, ‘The Necessary Nan’, review of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, ed. Warwick Gould, et al., OUP 1997; in Times Literary Supplement, 5 Dec. 1997.)

Edmund Gosse: in his Introduction to Restoration Plays (London: Dent 1912; new edn. 1932; rep. 1968), Gosse remarks about the “heroic” drama introduced by Roger Boyle [Lord Orrery] that ‘[i]t must be remembered that, whether in rhymed or blank verse, tragedy under Charles II was delivered in a kind of undulating sing-song. Some idea of its effect may perhaps be gained from Mr. Yeats’ experiments in the delivery of verse in his Irish theatre. This was pleasing to the noble amateurs who patronised the stage, and it gave the audience, eager for self-improvement, an impression of being in the best company. The tradition of Elizabethan acting […] was entirely lost [when the theatres opened again […]’. (p.ix.) Further speaks of Thomas Betterton, the actor who played Owen Tudor for Boyle; see under Roger Boyle, supra.

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Undisclosed: Olivia Shakespear’s affair with Yeats was not disclosed in Ellmann’s biography (1948); she herself protrayed it in the thinly disguised title character of her novel Rupert Armstrong.

Click does the trick: In letter to Dorothy Wellesley, Yeats wrote that ‘a poem comes right with a click like a closing box’ (Letters on Poetry from W.B. Yeats, London 1940, p.24). Geoffrey Hill juxtaposes this description and the experience described with T. S. Eliot’s similar account - identified with “Three Voices” - ‘of exhaustion, of appeasement, of absolution, and of something very near annihilation’ on successfully finishing a poem. (See ‘Poetry as ‘Menace’ and ‘Atonement’’ in Hill, The Lords of Limit; cited by Adam Piette of Glasgow Univ., on Modbrits e-list, March 1998.) Note also that Rudyard Kipling ends the novel Kim with ‘an almost audible click’ when the boy ‘regrasp[s] things’, as Edward Said puts it in his interpretation of the novel. (See Said, Culture and Imperialism, Chatto & Windus 1993, p.172.) Note further that Said equates this ‘regrasping of the scene; with George Eliot and Henry James on other novels, and further notes that the ‘lock[ing] up anew on the world without’ that Kim experiences is reinforced by Mother Earth’s blessing upon him as she ‘breathed through him [what had been] lost’. (op. cit., p.173). Plainly the experiences described by Yeats and Eliot are more nearly opposite than identical; but does Yeats’s choice of word owe anything to Kipling?

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Minting Ireland: Yeats’s authorship of Coinage of Saorstat Eireann (1928) is suggested by its listing as Wade 317 (Bibl.). The work has 11 plates.

Poems From Ireland, ed with an intro. by Donagh MacDonagh; preface by R. M. Smylie (Dublin: The Irish Times, 1944), his biog. notice reads briefly, ‘Poet, critic, playwright, and great gentleman.’

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Dram. Pers.: RED HANRAHAN founded on Aoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin; MARY BATTLE, the clairvoyant servant of George Pollexfen who saw form a window at Rosses Point ancient superhuman forms on Knocknarea (see Autobiographies, p.266; also ‘Under Ben Bulben’); CRAZY JANE, founded on “Cracked Mary”, an old woman near Gort with an ‘amazing power of audacious speech’.

Anne Yeats, the poet’s daughter, b. 2nd Feb., 1919; d. 4th July 2001. Anne, a painter, remained unmarried [var. 24th Feb. 1919, as supra.]

Words Upon the Window Pane: A 78-min. film version of Yeats’s play concerning a seance and set in two centuries, was produced and Anna J. Devlin and directed by McGuckian, with Geraldine Chaplin, Geraldine, James, Ian Richardson, John Lynch, Gerard McSorley, Donal Donnelly, Gemma Craven, Orla Brady and Jim Sheridan. See Bord Scannan na hEireann website.

O’Pinion varies: Harold Bloom praised Brenda S. Webster, Yeats: A Psychoanalytical Study (1975), as the best book on Yeats while Graham Hough condened it as the work of an ‘opinionated bitch.’ (See Times Literary Supplement, 14 Feb. 1975).

Reg Skene produced the entire cycle of the Cuchulain plays at Univ. of Winnipeg in 1969, later publishing, The Cuchulain Plays of W. B. Yeats (London: Macmillan 1974)

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Clubs & Hons.: W. B was in receipt of Civil List pension of £150 due to influence of Asquith and others since 1910; Academic Committee of English Letters; member of United Arts, Sackville St., and Stephen’s Green club and Kildare St. clubs; in London, Royal Societies, and Savile Club (after Jan. 1917); offered membership of the Athenaeum, 16 Feb. 1937, without entrance fee (Rule 2). (See Brenda Maddox, Yeats’s Ghosts, HarperCollins 1999).

Dreams & dollars: Yeats received 3,000 dollars (£600) from Testimonial Committee chaired by James A. Farrell, pres. of U.S. Steel, the sec. of the committee writing that the gift was not to defend ‘old Ireland’ against the charge of being a country of peasants but rather to express a genuine admiration for Yeats and to prove that ‘we Irish can clothe our dreams in reality and be a practical as the best.’ (James D. Mooney to WBY, 7 April 1937, NLI; quoted in Maddox, op. cit., 1999, p.341.)

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Gaol-gaels: Garret Fitzgerald writes of the Sinn Féin leaders incarcerated after 1916, ‘Some 70 were arrested, most of whom were sent to British prisons, a number of them to Gloucester jail. These included my father and professor Eoin MacNeill who, as president of the Irish Volunteers, had unsuccessfully sought to countermand the 1916 rising. During their year in prison these prisoners invented an imaginary Irish festival in honour of W. B. Yeats and persuaded the rather nervous governor, who knew little of Ireland, to lay on a special meal for the occasion, which they greatly enjoyed!’ (Review of Sean McConville, Irish Political Prisoners 1848-1922: Theatre of War, in The Guardian, 29 March 2003.)

Yeats Plays in Sligo: The Cat and the Moon by Yeats as produced at the Factory Performance Centre, while Sam McCready directed The Dreaming of the Bones at the Hawk’s Well Theatre as part of the Yeats International Summer School in August 2004.

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Under Ben Bulben?: Yeats was buried at Roquebrune and disinterred for removal to Ireland by Irish corvette in corvette Macha, and reinterred at Drumcliff in keeping with his wishes, Sept. 1948. Identification was performed by reference to the length of his bones and a steel truss which he wore for a hernia problem. The neighbouring grave was occupied by Alfred George Hollis, who also had a steel corset, giving rise to possible confusion. A third rumour to the effect that the grave was reused during the war or after in order to effect the burial of a clochard (tramp) has been repudiated. (See Ann Saddlemeyer, Life of Georgie Yeats, OUP 2002.) For an earlier variant of this matter see Brenda Maddox, Yeats’s Ghosts: The Secret Life of W. B. Yeats (NY: HarperCollins 1999): As to the interment and exumation, Maddox suggests DNA testing, but echoes Yeats on being told that he had confused Missolonghi with Mussolini: ‘But … does … it … really … matter?’

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A grave error: ‘A plaque on the wall of the public ossuary, a unicorn-and-star emblem, a few words, designed (but not sculpted) by the artist Edmund Dulac, a friend of the poet for a quarter of a century; Dulac and Edith Heald, another friend of Yeats, had applied officially at Roquebrune-Cap Martin to have the plaque installed “contre le mur limitant l’ossuaire souterrain du côte est, a la mémoire du poète Butler William Yeats (sic), décedé a Roquebrune-Cap-Martin”. / Yeats didn’t rest long in his grave above the sea. There was no trace of him in June 1947 when friends, Dulac among them, came to visit. Had there been some mistake? / How did the poet’s bones now lie in a fosse commune, a communal ditch? Had there been, quite literally, some grace error? Every few years the fosse was cleared; some of the poet’s bones were lifted in 1941, and rest in early 1946; Yeats was piled in the communal ossuary, the bone-pit. / His friends were distraught; and Yeats’s wish to be buried in Drumcliffe was known to them. / Dulac set about burying the error at Roquebrune. He contacted the abbé of Mention, a nearby town famous for its perfumes, to avoid an unholy stink. Discretion as assured. Dulac worked furiously to avoid scandal, even to the point of deciding that George Yeats, the poet’s widow, shoud be “kept out of it.” / Then George decided, in 1948, that she wanted her husband’s bones brought to Sligo. Dulac owned up. She was appalled, certain she had purchased a grave for ten years, hardly one. / It was decided to hunt through the bones in the ossuary for those of her late husband, looking for anything that might provide a clue; it is possible that bludnering about in an ossuary could have produced the bones of W. B. Yeats, which were later loaded up and taken back to Drumcliffe? / An exhumation order, a demande d’exhumation, was signed at Roquebrune on March 12th, 1948, and authorised with an official 20 francs stamp on paper headed Maison Roblot. / The tales was resurrected by avid reading in the library back in Monaco. (Fred Johnston, “An Irishman’s Diary”, in The Irish Times, Sat. 21 May 2005, p.15.)

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Plath meets Yeats: A. A. Alvarez, The Savage God (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1971; Norton Paperback 1990), narrates how Sylvia Plath leases the flat in which she committed suicide: ‘One gloomy November afternoon she arrived at my studio greatly excited. As usual, she had been trudging the chill streets, house-hunting despondently and more or less aimlessly. A block away from the square near Primrose Hill where she and Ted had lived when they first came to London, she saw a “To Let” notice up in front of a newly refurbished house. That in itself was something of a miracle in those impossible, overcrowded days. But more important, the house bore a blue plaque announcing that Yeats had once lived there. It was a sign, the confirmation she had been looking for. That summer she had visited Yeats’s Tower at Ballylee and wrote to a friend that she thought it “the most beautiful and peaceful place in the world”. Now there was a possibility of finding another Yeats tower in her favourite part of London which she could in some way share with the great poet. She hurried to the agent’s and found, improbably, that she was the first to apply. Another sign. On the spot she took a five-year lease of the flat, although the rent was more than she could afford. Then she walked across dark, blowy Primrose Hill to tell me the news.’ (p.43.) Plath and her husband Ted Hughes were much interested in primitive religion black magic in this period - if for different reasons. Alvarez explains: ‘[Hughes] had never properly been civilised - or had, at least, never properly believed in his civilisation. It was simply a shell he sardonically put up for the sake of convenience’ and, as such, an apprehension of the ‘animality of self’ was ‘part of his physical presence, a quality of threat behind his shrewd, laconic manner.’ By contrast, the ‘psychic gifts’ which Hughes claimed Plath possessed were more like ‘a triumph of mind over ectoplasm’. (p.45.)

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Riversdale House (Rathfarnham): Developers seek to build apartments on Yeats house lands’: Riversdale House, Ballyboden rd., Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin is the object of a challenge to a development plan to build 18 apartments on its lands; purchased by applications Roy Begley and Gerard Clarke for £1.53 in May 1999; applied to demolish the house, Aug. 1999 for construction of 28 apartments; its gates and piers and arched bridge added to record of protected structures by council, on recommendation of Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands Ministry, Feb. 2000, the house being added on 12th June 2000; permission refused for apartments by Bord Pleanála, Dec. 2000; applicant served purchase notice, Sept. 2001; applied ad interim to erect 18 apartments; permission granted by council, March 2001, but successfully appealed by Bord Pleanála, Oct. 2001; High Court challenge made on the basis that the Bord erred in construing the provision of the S. Dublin Development Plan and the extent of the area surrounding the house to be protected. (See report by Mary Carolan, The Irish Times, 23 Nov. 2002.)

Cuala Press - successor the Dun Emer Press - commonly bears the title-page address (carried over from the former) of Churchtown, Dundrum [i.e., a suburb of South Dublin].

NLI Accessions (1972): The National Library acquired Poems Written in Discouragement 1912-1913 (Cuala Press 1913), The Hour Glass ([priv.] Cuala Press [1914], and Mosada ([priv.] Cuala Press 1943). See Report of the Trustee’s 1971-72 (1972).

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Yeats Memorial: a ‘tribute in bronze by Henry Moore ereced by admirers of the poet’ was dedicated as the Yeats Memorial in Stephen’s Green, 26th Oct. 1967, being unveiled by An Taoiseach Jack Lynch; readings from the poetry of W. B. Yeats were given by Austin Clarke, Brendan Kennelly and Eavan Boland. The Memorial Committee was established in 1953 under the chairmanship of Lennox Robinson and inaugurated by a gift of £500 from the John J. Kelly, and later augmented by a generous gift from the Arts Council, with a sum of £5000 still being sought in 1967. The committee then comprised Raymond McGrath (Hon. Treas.), Michael Scott, James Johnson Sweeney, and William H. Walsh (Hon. Sec.), with an address at The Munster and Leinster Bank Ltd., 2 Lwr Baggot St., Dublin 2.

Chez Yeats: Monday was the evening of Yeats’s “at-homes” as Sunday was Russell’s, and Saturday Stephen MacKenna’s. (See Richard Kain, Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, Oklahoma UP 1962; Newton Abbot: David Charles 1972, p.69.)

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Irish Academy of Letters - the prospectus (Sept. 1932): ‘We have at present in Ireland no organisation representing Belles Lettres, and consequently means whereby we Irish authors can make known our views, nor any instrument by which action can be taken on our behalf. / There is in Ireland an official censorship possessing, and actively exercising, powers of suppression which may at any moment confine an Irish author to the British and American market, and thereby make it impossible for him to live by distinctive Irish literature […].’ (Quoted in Geoffrey Elborn, Francis Stuart - A Life, Dublin: Raven Arts Press 1990, p.92.)

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Portraits: There are noted portraits of W. B. Yeats by Albert Power, J. B. Yeats, George Russell, W. Strang, Sean O’Sullivan, Augustus John [Yeats at Renvyle, June 1930], John Sargent, Edmund Dulac, and Max Beerbohm (all rep. in W. B. Yeats: A Centenary Exhibition, with a foreword by James White (National Gallery of Ireland 1965). Other portrait can be found in Benedict Kiely, Yeats’s Ireland, An Illustrated Anthology (Aurum 1993), “Yeats as a Young Man”, by John Butler Yeats (Municipal Gallery); Sean O’Sullivan, “Yeats” (Abbey Theatre Foyer), 1934 [used as cover to Times Literary Supplement, No. 4722, Oct. 1 ‘Ireland’ [q.d.]. See also pictures from public and private collections rep. in A. N. Jeffares, W. B. Yeats, A New Biography (London: Hutchinson 1988).

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