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Willian Butler Yeats.

Famous Irish People.

Read his Poems
Willian Butler Yeats.
(13th June 1865-28th January 1939)

William Butler Yeats an Irish poet and dramatist, won the 1923 Nobel Prize for literature. Many critics consider him the greatest poet of his time. Yeats led the Irish Literary Revival, a movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's that stimulated new appreciation of traditional Irish literature. The movement also encouraged the creation of works written in the spirit of Irish culture.

Yeats developed elaborate theories about history as a recurring cycle of events. He expressed his personal views about history and life through the use of old Irish tales and the facts and legends of Irish history. His views also reflect his belief in the supernatural. Yeats published his theories in A Vision (1925), a book that is useful as a guide to some of his more difficult poems.

Yeats was born in Dublin and lived in London for part of his childhood. He spent many holidays in Sligo, a county in western Ireland that he loved and often wrote about. In 1898, he joined the authors Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn in establishing the Irish Literary Theater. It was reorganized in 1904 as the Abbey Theater, which became world famous.

The Irish Literary Theater was founded partly to support Irish nationalism by encouraging the writing and production of plays about Irish life. The theater performed most of Yeats's 26 plays, and he served until his death as one of the directors who managed the institution. The theaters first production was Yeats's The Countess Cathleen, written in 1891. This play was inspired in part by the author's love for Maud Gonne, a beautiful Irish nationalist leader. She became the subject of many of his plays and love lyrics.

Yeats's verse, unlike that of most poets, improved as he grew older. After his marriage in 1917 to Georgie Hyde-Lees, the couple moved into a Tower House 'Thoor Ballylee' in County Galway. He wrote much of his best work in the last 10 years of his life. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. His most important works were published in Collected Plays (1952) and The Poems: A New Edition (1984). Memoirs, containing autobiographical writings, was published in 1973.

It is the contention of some that after Ireland's independence Yeats became disillusioned with the development of the state, he as a Protestant although for many years actively involved in the Celtic Revival, found himself alienated and distanced by a government anxious to promote Ireland as a monolithic Catholic society, freed from the shackles of English Protestant oppression. He moved to France and died in Roquebrune, on January 28 1939, his remains were brought back form France on an Irish naval vessel in 1948 and interred in Drumcliff Churchyard where his grandfather had been vicar between the year's 1811-46.

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