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W.B. Yeats was the twentieth-century heir of the Romantic poets and is considered by many to be the finest poet of the last hundred years. He was an artist whose long career and thematic and stylistic evolution eschewed the almost mythic tendency of Romanticism: he failed to flame briefly and die young, as did Keats, Shelley and Byron before him. This undoubtedly makes Yeats, the last unrepentant romantic, especially interesting, and the themes of human love and the ravages of time resultantly reverberate throughout his poetry. Living through a turbulent, violent epoch in Irish and European history, Yeats' poetry can be seen as a creative reflection of its often hostile context - as a poet he is remarkable for bridging the gap between a backwards-looking appeal to Victorian sensuousness, and a modern hardness of edge and acerbity. Yeats believed that poetry is nothing less than ` the true voice of feeling' . This selection, from his early lyricism to his more mature mysticism, shows a mind growing ever more adept at matching intense feeling with fully crafted art. The 32 poems selected in The Illustrated Poets: W.B. Yeats are accompanied by English and Irish paintings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and cover every stage in his writing career. This compact anthology, with an introduction by Peter Porter, himself one of the most renowned poets of the second half of the twentieth-century, is a concise and valuable introduction to the last of the Romantics.
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William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and helped co-found the Abbey Theatre, where he served as its chief during its early years. In 1923 he became the first Irishman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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