William Butler Yeats is known as the largestan English-speaking poet of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who did much to transform the poetic style, as well as a playwright, essayist and prose writer. In the list of books recommended by Hemingway for compulsory reading to young authors, the "Autobiography" of Yeats was also indicated. His poetry was honored by eminent translators. Not only as a poet showed himself to William Butler Yeats. His poems, of course, are very valuable, but William Butler is known as a playwright. The concept of Yates' dramaturgy had a strong influence on Thomas Eliot, who characterized the work of his predecessor as "an integral part of the spirit of our age."

Origin, youth and features of early creativity

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The English-speaking poet of interest to us was born inthe capital of Ireland, in the family of a famous artist who belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite school (to which, by the way, the Kipling family was also close). He did not get any decent formal education, but he did a lot on his own. He was too keen on literature.

The first verses are marked by the strong influence of Shelley andSpencer. He began to write them back in 1882, and the first publication dates back to 1885. Then, in 1885, William participated in the organization of the Dublin Alchemical Society, engaged in occult sciences. Interest to them will remain with the poet for life.

William started publishing at the age of 20, and another 4year published the first book of poems. Educated on the ideas of the Pre-Raphaelites, the young man, he said, experienced "monkey hatred" to the rationality and practicality of modernity. It seemed to him that poetry was struck by this pestilence, he sought salvation in symbolism, believing that the image of beauty hidden from our eyes can not be recreated differently than by resorting to the use of symbols. However, even then Yeats demanded from the art not only the emotional impact on the reader, but also the influence of the moral.

Educational activities

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A lot of power the poet gave enlightenmentactivities. In 1891, he organized the Irish Literary Society in London, then the National Irish Union in Dublin, participated energetically in the work of the Society of Poetry, took care of the popularization of Irish folklore. One of his accomplishments was the creation of the so-called Gaelic League - a social union aimed at the development of the Irish national culture, the revival of the indigenous language and the transition to literature based on popular traditions.

The Irish people have a difficult history. "Green Island" was inhabited by Celtic tribes in the IV century BC. In modern times, in the XII century, Ireland fell under the rule of England. Only in 1921 it received the status of dominion, and in 1949 - independence. Northern Ireland, often called Ulster, stayed with the British. Alien domination was cruel, the laws did not allow the Irish to use their native language under pain of death. By the middle of the last century, the struggle for their culture and language was complicated by mass emigration; Now the Irish live abroad as much as in Ireland. The number of those who use their native language has declined. Even now, when the situation is straightening, in Irish is spoken less than a quarter of the citizens.

"Irish literary revival"

The struggle with the decline of culture and set its taskthe Irish literary revival movement, within which the Gaelic League arose, and the beginning of which is associated with the publication in 1893 of a poetic collection, written by William Yeats (Celtic Twilight). The participants of the movement did not reduce its purpose to narrow-language problems, and many of them, including William, wrote in English. "Gaelic is my national, but not my native language," said William Butler Yates. Quotations it was often used to propagate this movement. The tasks of the "Irish literary revival" were large-scale - to awaken the national spirit, to preserve national traditions, to defend the independence of the country's culture.

The creation of the Irish Literary Theater

As part of the movement, William Butler Yeats founded in1899 The Irish Literary Theater in Dublin and was its director almost to death, about 40 years. Over the repertoire for his theater, he worked himself, turning to the problems primarily to the national epic and his native history. Here Yeats was the largest innovator. He managed to create a peculiar concept of "poetic theater", antitheses by the domination of naturalism.

Personal life and poems about love

In poetry, which became the main vocation of Yeats, hetoo, was constantly in search. His early work was rooted in mythology and was fueled by the idea of ​​"Eternal Beauty". Reality almost did not attract the poet. A kind of tragic flavor in Yates's poetry was brought by love. At the age of 24, he met a young beauty Maud Goni, an actress and revolutionary, and for many years had passionate feelings for her that remained undivided. Only 52 years old, the fourth time having received from Maud the refusal to unite their lives, led the family to William Butler Yeats. "He thirsts for the heavenly cloak ..." - this is the title of one of his poems relating to love lyrics. By the way, the lines from it sound at the beginning of the film "Equilibrium". Many do not know that their author is William Butler Yeats. "But I'm poor, and I have only dreams," - says the lyrical hero of this poem, complaining that he can not spread the "heavenly silk" at the feet of his beloved.

Confessional and Civil Poetry

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Over time, Yates's workfracture. "Eternal beauty", poems about love - all this gradually became a thing of the past. Beginning with the collection of "Responsibility" (1914), William Butler increasingly gravitates toward confessional and civic poetry. The poems of the collection convey a tense social atmosphere. In the ever-troubled Catholic Ireland, dissatisfaction with the rule of Protestant England was accumulated. The crisis was resolved by the Dublin uprising of 1916. Ireland proclaimed itself a republic, but the insurgents lasted only five days. William Butler Yeats at this time was in London, and events were for him a complete surprise, but they left a deep imprint on his mind.

It took a painful reassessment of the past. Instead of the mythology implicated in mysticism, Yates's work includes the history of the country with its real heroes. The bloody reality of the uprising that took 450 lives, the deaths of its leaders prompted the poet to abandon the lofty aristocracy, to look at people in a new way.

The tragic tonality of the lyrics

Life did not allow to find a firm support. The ensuing partisan war with the English invaders caused Yeats a bitter disappointment. He was overcome by fear of the chain reaction of hatred and violence. The tragic tonality is typical of most poems of this period. But, of course, there were Yates's lyrics and funny chords. An example is the poem "Violinist from Dunia".

Authority of the poet

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Poetry Yeats enjoyed wide recognition. Apparently, one should not look for hyperbolization in the formula of the Swedish Academy, where it is noted that his work "gives expression to the spiritual essence of the whole nation." The poet's authority was great. From 1922 to 1928, Yeats was a member of the Irish Senate, one of three senators who advised the government on education, literature and art. His reasoned speeches contributed to the preservation of many national monuments. However, most attempts to interfere in politics did not yield results, and he refused an honorary title.

Senate Speech

Senate speeches Yeatsa allow you to judge hisassessment of the role of culture in society. In one of them, he said that he had no hope of seeing a single Ireland himself, seeing the annexation of Ulster; but he is convinced that in the end it will happen, and not because the Irish will fight for it, but because they will manage their country well. William Butler Yeats noted that this can be done by creating a culture that will represent his country and that will attract the imagination of the youth.

The last decade of life and creativity

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In the last decade his life, it seemed,flowed calmly. Great moral and material support was the Nobel Prize, which he received in 1923. The poet is again full of spiritual and physical strength, talking about approaching old age with calm humor. But this is only an external calm, the spiritual life of the poet is still full of struggles. In the declining years, all the revered author, looking back at the past, thinking about the future, asks himself questions one more disturbing than the other. In his work there are fresh themes, new ideas are being borne out, verse technique is changing. The poet, as it were, constantly refutes himself. The search state did not leave it to the end.

It should also be noted that poems relating tolate period of his work, have a more personal character than the earlier works. In particular, they mention the children of William, Yates's reflections on his aging are presented.

The last fifteen years of his life, Yeats wasrecognized as the national Irish poet. He often hurted, but continued to create. In the last decade of his life he created works that are marked by exceptional skill, great passion and imagination. Among them are such collections as "Tower" (1928) and "Spiral Staircase", created in 1933.

English-speaking poet

The poet died on the French Riviera, in the townCap Martin, January 28, 1939. Death occurred after another illness. According to the will of Yeats, which was designated in his poetic testament, in 1948 his remains were reburied in Ireland.

Disputes about the personality and creativity of the poet

love poems

Sharp transitions were typical forYeats-artist throughout the almost 60-year-old creative path. He often refused the achieved, changed and varied his works. The facts of the life and literary biography of Yeats are also contradictory. All his life he was fond of mystical teachings. This was reflected in his work. In particular, William Yates was fond of spiritualism. "Vision" is a book published in 1925, in which the author interprets psychological and historical moments from the point of view of mysticism. At one time, William Butler even believed a primitive fascist demagogy.

Accordingly, and judgments of critics about hisideological positions are often mutually exclusive: Yates is represented as a revolutionary, a reactionary, a traditionalist, or a modernist. Judgments are supported by references to articles, statements, poetic lines. Disputes about the personality and creativity of William Butler Yeats became a tradition. One thing is clear - he was a man constantly looking to new spiritual entities. And it was this property which prompted him to create a new poetry in form and content, which became an integral part of modern culture.

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