Nice article over at The Hudson by Brian Phillips (Who? Watson, pass the deerstalker and fiddle! This may be a three crackpipe problem. Got it! A major Spark Notes contributor) on Roy Foster’s biog of Yeats.
And the brother was handy with the brushes
Looking around, you can find the fine poet, Bernard O’Donoghue(*), reviewing the same last autumn in the Guardian. The G also have up their report on Yeats receiving the Nobel, along with his obituary. I like the Nobel report:
Imagine weighing Mr. Masefield against D’Annunzio, or Tchekov’s plays against Mr. Galsworthy’s novels. Puzzles like these are well on the way towards the toughness of such posers as a comparison between triangularity and blueness in respect of their smells.
Yup, Galsworthy or Chekhov. That’s a real poser.
Vaguely free-associating, over at The Atlantic, there are some great turn-of-the-century essays on Japan by Lafcadio Hearn, Yeats’s older contemporary.
*I feel like I should throw in a disclosure or eulogy here; I spent a while in the world of Oxford Eng. Lit. (omfg it was 10 years, end to end), and it’s a nasty place – backbiting, bitchery, politicking, point-scoring. Yup, I know, quelle f’ing surprise. In all that time, Bernard’s the one notable I never heard a word against: it was universally agreed that he was a good man. From when he first taught me as a 1st year undergrad, to casual chats after I’d finished up my postgrad stuff, he was the soul of friendliness and decency. A much-loved man. Here’s a book by him.