Bernard O’Donoghue

A Life Backwards

Blood Kindred: W B Yeats – The Life, the Death, the Politics


Pimlico 482pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

There have been many biographies of Yeats over the past fifteen years, culminating in Roy Foster’s magisterial two-volume ‘official’ work (completed in 2003), so you might wonder what the case is for another one. But W J McCormack’s vigorous new book is not a simple biography. His claim is that this is, at last, the book which refuses to gloss over the unacceptable features of the poet’s politics; it is ‘a specifically political Life of Yeats’. So, while acknowledging a debt to and admiration for predecessors (especially Foster), McCormack at the same time accuses those predecessors of a suppressio veri extending from wilful myopia to whitewashing.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Here's reviewing Rachel Kushner's novel about a woman caught in the injustice of the US prison system,… ,
    • 'Hart sets out to unsettle, startle and disturb. In this strange, disconcerting, radical version of a strange, disc… ,
    • Here is @MannJessica's June crime fiction round-up, discussing books by Georges Simenon, Jack Grimwood,… ,
    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,
    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,