William Butler Yeats: The Poet as a Mythmaker, 1865--1939

William Butler Yeats: The Poet as a Mythmaker, 1865--1939

William Butler Yeats: The Poet as a Mythmaker, 1865--1939

William Butler Yeats: The Poet as a Mythmaker, 1865--1939

Excerpt

In writing this book I have placed myself under an obligation to many people. My debt to other writers, both critics and scholars, is so great that at certain moments I cannot remember all of its items. In the Bibliography I have attempted to list as many of these items as possible; and in this preliminary note I must express my gratitude, albeit in general terms, to all those writers whose works I have used, perhaps too freely, and without whose help I could never have written this book.

Like everyone who today attempts a study of Yeats' life and works, however, I am especially indebted to two authors, whose names I feel compelled to mention at once: Richard Ellman and Joseph Hone, the poet's biographers.

I am under a very great obligation to Professor William York Tindall, through whom almost twenty years ago I first became in- terested in Yeats' poetry and the occult tradition. As teacher, colleague, and friend, Professor Tindall shared with me his deep understanding of both subjects. When later I decided to write this book, he both encouraged and guided me in the early stages of my research; and afterwards he read the first draft of my manuscript, which he corrected and helped me to improve.

Professors Elliott Van Kirk Dobbie and Maurice Valency gave me criticism of the greatest value. Professors Jean-Albert Bédé and Joseph Blau helped preserve me from inaccuracies of fact and expression. I am grateful to Professors Richard V. Chase and Henry C. Hatfield for reading the book in one of its early drafts, to Professor Roger Sherman Loomis for his help in matters Celtic and medieval, and to Professor Roderick Marshall for correcting the pages on the Orphic Mysteries.

Mr. Leo James Hill assisted me with many textual analyses and, despite the pressures of his own work, went over more drafts of the manuscript than I have the courage to remember. I am very grateful to Mr. William Bridgwater for giving me the advantage of his criticism and vast learning. Professor Andrew Chiappe was most generous in his willingness to answer questions from his knowl- edge of Yeats; it was through my conversations with him that I first came to understand and appreciate Yeats' last poems.

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