Image of William Butler Yeats


Lifetime: 1865 - 1939 Passed: ≈ 85 years ago


Poet, Dramatist, Prose Writer



William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats was an English-language Irish poet, dramatist, prose writer and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served two terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.

Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland, and educated there and in London. He was a Protestant and member of the Anglo-Irish community. He spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age, when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the 20th century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Books by William Butler Yeats

The Wanderings of Oisin Cover image

The Wanderings of Oisin

Poetry Fiction
Epic Narrative

The Wanderings of Oisin is a poignant and beautifully written poem that explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. It remains one of Yeats's most beloved works and is considered a classic of Irish literature.

The Wild Swans at Coole Cover image

The Wild Swans at Coole


The Wild Swans at Coole is the name of two collections of poetry by W. B. Yeats, published in 1917 and 1919.

In the Seven Woods  Cover image

In the Seven Woods

Twentieth Century Marriage Drama Romance Poems

In the Seven Woods: Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age is a volume of poems by W. B. Yeats, published in 1903 by Elizabeth Yeats's Dun Emer Press, the first edited by this publishing house. Dun Emer published two editions of the book in 190...

The Wind Among the Reeds  Cover image

The Wind Among the Reeds

Twentieth Century Imagery Literature Poems Folk lore

'The wind among the reeds', published in 1899, by critics' opinion is the main achievement of his early works. Imagery of Yeats' poetry at this time is filled with characters of Celtic mythology and folklore.

John Sherman and Dhoya  Cover image

John Sherman and Dhoya

Mythology Novel
Short Story Single Author Collections Humanity Seduction

In 1891, Yeats published "John Sherman", a novella, and "Dhoya", a Celtic mythologic story. Ganconagh, Yeats’s nom de plume for this work is the name of a male faerie in Irish mythology that is known for seducing human women.

J. M. Synge and the Ireland of His Time Cover image

J. M. Synge and the Ireland of His Time

Play History Tradition Analysis Culture Innovations Irish Folklore

Step into the captivating world of Irish literature and culture with "J.M. Synge and the Ireland of His Time" by the legendary William Butler Yeats. Delve into the life and works of John Millington Synge, the playwright who brought the soul of Irelan...