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Yeats: riassunto

Yeats: riassunto

W.B. YEATS (1865-1939). W.B. Yeats was born in Dublin in a protestant family

He moved to London when he was two years old, but every summer returned to Ireland at the family home. He was strongly influenced by the cultural and historical tradition of Ireland. He also showed a strong interest in spiritualism, mysticism, occultism and magic. Yeats met Maud Gonne, a woman who contributed to turning his interest towards the political and social problems of Ireland, but she also left him broken hearted. Many of his poems were a product of this relationship. Yeats wrote also plays for the Irish Literary Theatre, which then became the Abbey Theatre, in Dublin.

Although he was a patriot and showed a strong interest in the political problems of his time, Yeats opposed the excesses of the Nationalist movement. In 1917 he married. He was appointed to the Irish Senate in 1922 on the foundation of the Irish Free State and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. He spent the last years of his life in Italy and Franca, where he died in 1939.
Yeats was a very versatile poet using evocative and suggestive language. His first collections concentrate on Irish legends and folktales. His style, in this phase, was influenced by the Romantics and by the symbolic paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites. In this phase he wrote about magic and mystical themes. He believes that his mind could perceive beyond the limits of materialistic rationalism. The poem of his second collection, “the Wind Among the Reeds, inspired by his love for Maud Gonne, reveal a strong emotional intensity and variety of rhythm.

His experience in writing plays for theatre contributed to making his poetry more concrete and colloquial. The years from 1900 to 1914 marked an evolution towards a more realistic style of poetry. This period was strongly influenced by his interest in Irish society and the quest for Irish independence, but Yeats never became involved in the struggle as he strongly opposed any form of violence.
His imagery came from Irish and Greek mythology, occultism, English literature and Christianity. The last ten years of Yeats’s life can be considered his “last phase”, in which he turned to a self-critical and ironic poetry. The main themes in this poetry became death and the contrast between art and life.
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