Essay The Life and Work of William Butler Yeats

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The Life and Work of William Butler Yeats

Born in Dublin in the year 1865, William Butler Yeats would go on to become universally recognized by his peers as the greatest poet of this century writing in the English language. This recognition would come as early as 1828, a decade before his death with the publication of arguably his finest volume, The Tower (Fraser, 207). The son of one time attorney and later well known painter John Butler Yeats, W.B. Yeats was of partially Cornish and Gaelic decent, born near Dublin and raised between both England and Ireland.

Though born in Dublin and raised between England and Ireland, Yeats would develop, through his mother, a love for the west country of Ireland that would last all his life.
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Yeats soon discovered that his first love was poetry not painting. Soon began Yeats's love affair with Ireland and Irish literature that would last the rest of his life.

Yeats's spiritual outlook would play a significant role in his life and his works. Born into a Protestant family, with a paternal grandfather and great-grandfather having been Anglican clergymen, religion was a constant presence in Yeats's childhood. Yeats began to abandon the religion of his Rationalist upbringing and made a new religion out of poetic tradition (Kunitz, 1560). Yeats's interest in the occult and mysticism comes about early in life, an influence which would come to partially define Yeats to his world of readers, whether accurately or inaccurately.

Yeats sought in his writing to create a fresh tradition and a unique style. He attempted to create a literature that was Irish in subject matter and tone. Yeats strove to reawaken in his people a sense of the glory and significance of Ireland s historical and legendary past (Magill, 1958). Yeats found his vehicle to accomplish just that in Irish mythology and folklore. Offering an
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