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Letters on Poetry from W. B. Yeats to Dorothy Wellesley
Letters on Poetry from W B Yeats to Dorothy Wellesley Author:W. B. Yeats From the back cover: — When this book was first published in 1940 the leader writer of The Times Literary Supplement wrote: "The book of letters passing between W. B. Yeats and Lady Gerald Wellesley...should be read with Yeats's own Last Poems and his introduction to the Oxford Book of Modern Verse at the reader's elbow. The ... more »correspondence was going on while Yeats was at work on the Oxford book, and also writing his last poems, and the three books together give a clear view into the mind of the poet in old age. Dorothy Wellesley's book gives more than that -- a vivid impression of the personality of the man."
The letters, which date from May 1935 to December 1938, two months before Yeats's death, are revealing both in their general discussions concerning the nature of poetry and in the light they throw on the composition of many specific poems.
From the Forward:
THESE letters, making a continuous correspondence on the subject of poetry, are published with the full consent and approval of Mrs. Yeats. Not only do they contain many of Yeats's views on the technique of verse, but they also reflect the fresh informal workings of his mind on a variety of subjects. Here may be seen, month by month, often week by week, the spontaneous flow of his extraordinary intellectual vitality during the last four years of his life those years when he showed not only that his creative power was as vigorous as ever, but also that he was still reaching forward into new forms of expression. It is for this reason, and because of the great impression his later work has made upon the new generation of writers, that this correspondence has been thought to have sufficient interest to justify its publication. It lifts a curtain on the creative processes of a great poet. I have inserted in two places notes of conversations and observations recorded at the time, and have added a short account of his last days. Passages from a certain number of my own letters have been included when this seemed the simplest way to explain the allusions in his. They may help to emphasize the personal character of this book, which seeks to preserve the freshness of a living personality. Yeats's characteristic spelling has been preserved throughout his letters.« less