W.B. Yeats (1855)

Five Fridays: May 4, 11, 18, 25 ,June 1, 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

$125 (10% off for members)

Yeats is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and perhaps the greatest poet of the 20th century.  His poems are among the most memorable in the English language. His words have become part of our language, as in “A terrible beauty is born” and “Things fall apart.”

In these five sessions we will sample not just some of W. B. Yeats’ famous poems but also some of his plays and prose. With Lady Gregory, Yeats founded the Irish National Theatre and provided a space and institution at the Abbey where playwrights like themselves could celebrate and criticize the human condition.  Yeats was a poet of the theatre.

Although rooted in his native culture and a senator in the first Irish government, Yeats claimed that “art is tribeless, nationless, a blossom gathered in No Man’s Land.”  As Yeats said, “Out of our quarrels with others we make rhetoric; out of our quarrels with ourselves we make poetry.”  And memorable poetry he did indeed create, as in “The Wild Swans at Coole”:

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky .  .  . .

The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Revised Edition), edited by Richard J. Finneran

*There is no required reading in advance of the first session

Christopher Griffin is from Yeats country in south Galway near Yeats’ Thoor Ballylee.  His grandfather, Christy Griffin, sometimes decorated Coole House and brought Lady Gregory news of “the Troubles” 1919-23, so, like Yeats, he is quoted in her journals.   Christopher studied Irish literature in English at Trinity College and University College in Dublin.  He has lectured at the Yeats Summer School in Sligo and in Yeats’ Thoor Ballylee and Coole Park. He has taught courses in Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years and at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 13 Smithsonian Journeys and lectures at Smithsonian Associates.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

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The Yeats Reader, Revised Edition: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743227988
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - August 27th, 2002