The Tower (1928): Manuscript Materials

Overview

W. B. Yeats's The Tower, first published in 1928 and later revised a number of times, arrived in its final form after many years of dedicated labor. Yeats here is concerned with the "rooting of mythology in the earth," binding almost every poem to the image of Thoor Ballylee, the building in the west of Ireland that he saw as a permanent symbol of his work. Still considered one of the seminal volumes of modern poetry, its themes are both intensely personal and determinedly universal: old age and its attendant ...

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Overview

W. B. Yeats's The Tower, first published in 1928 and later revised a number of times, arrived in its final form after many years of dedicated labor. Yeats here is concerned with the "rooting of mythology in the earth," binding almost every poem to the image of Thoor Ballylee, the building in the west of Ireland that he saw as a permanent symbol of his work. Still considered one of the seminal volumes of modern poetry, its themes are both intensely personal and determinedly universal: old age and its attendant problems, the relationship between Nature and Art, the natural and the supernatural or spiritual, the self and the world.

In her unsigned review of the collection, Virginia Woolf was to declare, "Mr Yeats has never written more exactly and more passionately." Yet the poet was never satisfied, and in this volume we can trace the alterations, some subtle and others startling, of the hard-earned technique resulting in such major works as "Sailing to Byzantium," "Among School Children," "Leda and the Swan," and "Meditations in Time of Civil War."

In the Cornell Yeats edition of The Tower, materials presented include transcriptions and photographs of the earliest recoverable drafts and selected transcriptions from the most interesting manuscripts and annotated typescripts. Collations of closely related materials, including printed readings preceding the 1928 volume, are attached to transcriptions of the texts to which they lead or from which they stem. Appendixes reveal the different ordering of titles in The Tower that Yeats provided both before and after 1928.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The appearance of The Tower in the Cornell Yeats series of manuscript materials is the first closing-point of this magisterial editorial venture because it completes the series of poetry volumes. . . . When the Cornell series is complete, there will be a matchless body of material for the interpreters to work on. It is fitting that the poetry series should end with what is generally regarded as Yeats's greatest single volume, The Tower from 1928. . . . Of course it is impossible to show in a review the real value and compulsion of this book—as of all the volumes in this glorious series. The developing thought processes of the poet, set out in Yeats's particularly personal and self-revealing handwriting, are evident on every facing page. The thanks and congratulations that these editors have earned will go on being expressed for a very long time."—Bernard O'Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement (9 May 2008)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801446108
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Series: The Cornell Yeats Series
  • Pages: 728
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jared Curtis is Emeritus Professor of English and Visiting Scholar in English at the University of Washington. He is Coordinating Editor of The Cornell Yeats and editor or coeditor of several volumes, including "The Resurrection": Manuscript Materials. He is the 2013 recipient of the M. L. Rosenthal Award for distinguished contributions to Yeats studies.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xi
Abbreviations     xiii
Census of Manuscripts     xv
Introduction     xxix
Chronology of Manuscripts     xli
Transcription Principles and Procedures     li
The Tower
Sailing to Byzantium     3
The Tower     51
Meditations in Time of Civil War     153
Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen     199
The Wheel     257
Youth and Age     261
The New Faces     263
A Prayer for my Son     279
Two Songs from a Play     287
Wisdom     315
Leda and the Swan     329
On a Picture of a Black Centaur   Edmund Dulac     353
Among School Children     361
Colonus' Praise     399
The Hero, the Girl, and the Fool     411
Owen Ahern and his Dancers     421
A Man Young and Old
First Love     443
Human Dignity     469
The Mermaid     479
The Empty Cup     483
His Memories     489
The Friends of his Youth     491
Summer and Spring     493
The Secrets of the Old     495
His Wildness     503
A Man Young and Old     505
The Three Monuments     523
From 'Oedipus at Colonus'     543
The Gift of Harun Al-Rashid     565
All Souls' Night     643
Appendixes
Fragments, I     661
Fragments, II     663
A. Draft of Contents for Seven Poems and a Fragment (1922)     665
Draft of Contents for October Blast (1927)     667
A. Preliminary Arrangements of The Tower Poems     668
Order and Contents of The Tower     669
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