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Summary Article: YEATS, WILLIAM BUTLER from Profiles in Excellence Nobel Laureates All: 1901-2015

Nationality: Irish

b. 13 June 1865, Dublin, Ireland;

d. 28 January 1939, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

“For his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”

Poet and dramatist, W.B.Yeats was born of Protestant Anglo-Irish parents. His early childhood spent in the midst of fantastic beauty of Siligocountryside in the Western Ireland, his maternal uncle's place, had a potent influence on his poetry, particularly his early poetries. This also led to his interest in Irish mythology and legendary past as well as in Irish folk-tales. In fact Yeats's interest in and for Ireland was an abiding one, which led to his fierce nationalism about Ireland as related to Irish literature, theatre and language as well as politically, Ireland as a nation – state.

This as well as his early interest in astrology, occultism and mysticism provided strong structural components in his writings. Yeats's early poetry, till the First World War, had strong romantic strains, where he talked of ‘Romantic Ireland’ and emerged not only as an important leader of Irish ‘Renaissance’ but also of so called ‘Celtic twilight’. But as his poetry grew into harsh realities of the post – First World War life, it acquired a great measure of inner strength, serenity and freedom. His life and art got increasingly linked and integrated with each other, and in his later poetry, one becomes aware of the purifying fire of reality, and the movement towards the ‘Unity of Being’, which was symbolised by the “Whirling movement of the universe, the spinning-off of one spool of life onto the other, and the eternal recurrence of the cycles of history”. His poems particularly in such volumes as The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair (1929) are among the finest of his work, and provide, in significant poetic formulations, some of the deepest insights into the present-day living.

© 2016 P.T. Rajasekharan. All Rights Reserved.

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