Blood Kindred: W. B. Yeats, the Life, the Death, the Politics

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Random House, Jan 11, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 512 pages

In June 1934, W. B. Yeats gratefully received the award of a Goethe-Plakette from Oberburgermeister Krebs, four months after his early play The Countess Cathleen had been produced in Frankfurt by SS Untersturmfuhrer Bethge. Four years later, the poet publicly commended Nazi legislation before leaving Dublin to die in southern France. These hitherto neglected, isolated and scandalous details stand at the heart of this reflective study of Yeats's life, his attitudes towards death, and his politics.

Blood Kindred identifies an obsession with family as the link connecting Yeats's late engagement with fascism to his Irish Victorian origins in suburban Dublin and industrializing Ulster. It carefully documents and analyses his involvement with both Maud Gonne and her daughter Iseult, his secretive consultations with Irish army officers during his Senate years, his incidental anti-Semitism, and his approval of the right-wing royalist group L'Action Franšaise in the 1920s.

The familiar peaks and troughs of Irish history, such as the 1916 Rising and the death of Parnell, are re-oriented within a radical new interpretation of Yeats's life and thought, his poetry and plays. As far as possible Bill McCormack lets Yeats speak for himself through generous quotation from his newly accessible correspondence. The result is a combative, entertaining biography which allows Ireland's greatest literary figure to be seen in the round for the first time.


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BLOOD KINDRED: W.B. Yeats: The Life, the Death, the Politics

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A cogent—and densely scholarly—political study by Dublin historian and librarian Mc Cormack that delves uneasily into Yeats's flirtation with fascism and eugenics. By the end of Yeats's life, in ... Read full review

Blood kindred: W. B. Yeats: the life, the death, the politics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

According to McCormack (The Silence of Barbara Synge ), the purpose of this book is "to explain biographically how the poet came about." As part of a series exploring Irish literary history with ... Read full review


List of Illustrations
Part One
In the Catacombs
A Troubled Mirror
Some Paper Tigers
The Unspeakable Question
My Frankfurt Honour
Ceremonies and Innocence
Part Three
Victorian Kindred
SecondHand Tragedy or Are You Content

Intrusive Ghosts
Part Two
Marital Politics and the House of Stuart
Text Acknowledgments

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About the author (2011)

W. J. McCormack is former Professor of Literary History and head of the English Department at Goldsmith's College, University of London. His publications include A Festschrift for Francis Stuart (1972), Sheridan Le Fanu and Victorian Ireland (1980, 1991 and 1997), Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History (1985), From Burke to Beckett (1993), Fool of the Family: A Life of J. M. Synge (2000) and The Silence of Barbara Synge (2003). He is also the author of a number of volumes of poetry under the name Hugh Maxton.

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