More Yeats Books

I have bought a few more books to study the work of William Butler Yeats.

Our Secret Discipline
Helen Vendler
ISBN: 9780674026957

The Cambridge Introduction to W. B. Yeats
David Holdeman
ISBN: 9780521547376

The Cambridge Companion To W. B.  Yeats
edited by Marjorie Howes and John Kelly
ISBN: 9780521658867

Yeats and the Occult
edited by George Mills Harper
ISBN: 0-7705-1308-5

Of these books, Our Secret Discipline is particularly interesting because it provides a detailed analysis of the lyric forms Yeats used for his poems. For a writer this examination of his word choices and style is invaluable. Yeats does need an introduction or companion guide to provide the context for his use of Irish myths and Renaissance art. In analyzing his poems I frequently need to look up some obscure references. But I doubt that these two books I bought will help much with that.

A study of William Butler Yeats’ work can branch out into many other directions. I have discovered that he probably got his knowledge of the Italian Renaissance from the books of Walter Pater. So I have ordered a copy of The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry by Walter Pater. Although this is quite a diversion from my main interests it seems this book was very influential in forming the aesthetic tastes of the time. Yeats was heavily influenced by the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and probably read Edward Dowden’s biography of the poet, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. I bought a very old copy of this book published in 1920 so it is old enough to have been around when Yeats was still alive.

I also bought an obscure novel by an actress Yeats knew, Florence Farr. Her novel The Dancing Faun is clearly an imitation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray as she tries to display the same sort of wit. I will review this novel soon since I have now read it.

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