Florence O’Donoghue

Let the Fools Rage

Yeats the European

By

Colin Smythe 340pp £25 order from our bookshop

In 1925 Yeats made a speech in the Irish Senate attacking what he saw as the narrowness of the new Free State in opposing divorce. When he exalted the Anglo-Irish thinkers of the eighteenth century (‘We are the people of Swift…’) he was interrupted by the Chairman, ‘Do you think we might leave the dead alone?’ Yeats replied, ‘I would hate to leave the dead alone.’

Again and again the impact of the vitality of the dead is found in his works: in Kathleen ni Houlihan and other plays, and in the poems, of which the passionate ‘September 1913’ may be seen as the form, with the concluding couplet of each stanza:

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : 'Gracefully meditative...a Chatterton-esque literary discovery of old, albeit with references to Bob Geldof and Alk… ,
    • Still time to win tickets to Lady Windermere's Fan at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. To enter simply email marke… ,
    • In need of last minute christmas gifts for children? Philip Womack reviews the latest children's books from Jessica… ,
    • "An artist had to be a chemist – and he had to have a strong stomach. He would have known, writes Jelley, 'the usef… ,
    • Good spelling, us! ,
    • This Christmas, why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions… ,
    • Philip Henscher on Thom Gunn's 'Selected Poems' ,