As W. H. Auden said to the ghost of Yeats in his famous elegy, when he died 'he became his admirers'. Not even Auden could have imagined just how prophetic that phrase would become. The battle over both Yeats' life and his poetry began almost immediately after his death, with some sides proudly claiming him as one of their very own, while others insisted he had never really been one of them at all.
To what tradition does Yeats belong? To what culture? Was he Irish or Anglo-Irish, or even English? Was he a Romantic, Symbolist or Modernist poet? A nationalist, fascist or a postnationalist? This Guide follows the often heated debates on who Yeats was and what kind of poetry he wrote. Michael Faherty offers selections from the leading voices in these debates, setting them in the context of Irish cultural and political history.
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