Topics: William Butler Yeats, Easter Rising, Ireland Pages: 3 (896 words) Published: January 20, 2014
William Butler Yeats/Irish history.
Yeats’ parents, Susan Pollexfen and John Butler Yeats, offered Yeats kinship with various Anglo-Irish Protestant families who are mentioned in his work. Normally, Yeats would have been expected to identify with his Protestant tradition—which represented a powerful minority among Ireland’s predominantly Roman Catholic population—but he did not. Indeed, he was separated from both historical traditions available to him in Ireland—from the Roman Catholics, because he could not share their faith, and from the Protestants, because he felt repelled by their concern for material success. Yeats’s best hope, he felt, was to cultivate a tradition more profound than either the Catholic or the Protestant—the tradition of a hidden Ireland that existed largely in the anthropological evidence of its surviving customs, beliefs, and holy places, more pagan than Christian. Yeats spent much of his boyhood and school holidays in Sligo with his grandparents. Silgo - its scenery, folklore, and supernatural legend - would colour Yeats’ work and form the setting of many of his poems. In 1890, Yeats founded the ‘Rhymers Club – the poets of the ‘tragic generation’. The group as a whole matched quite closely Yeats' retrospective idea of 'the tragic generation', destined for failure and in many cases early death. Along with the social element of the Rhymers' Club, they published two volumes of verse. The first, entitled The Book of the Rhymers' Club was published by Elkin Matthews in 1892. The Second Book of the Rhymers' Club appeared two years later in 1894, published by the recently merged Elkin Matthews and John Lane. They had print runs of 450 and 650 respectively. W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn published a "Manifesto for Irish Literary Theatre" in 1897, in which they proclaimed their intention of establishing a national theatre for Ireland. The Irish Literary Theatre was founded by Yeats, Lady Gregory, George Moore and Edward Martyn...
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