"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 bookas 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)
The Tower (1928): Manuscript Materialsby Richard J. Finneran (Editor), Jared Curtis (Editor), Ann Saddlemyer (Editor), William Butler Yeats
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/em>
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.
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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