Mythmaker: The Poetry of William Butler Yeats

Following in the tradition of Oscar Wilde’s mother, Speranza, and Yeats’s closest early friend, Lady Augusta Gregory, Yeats spent most of his life exploring Irish myth and adapting it to modern life. He sang of faerie life, the hosting of the Sidhe, as well as of the great Irish heroes, Finn McCool, Cuchulain, Fergus, Aengus, and the great Queen Maeve, heroine of the Tain Bó Culainge. We will read and discuss the familiar great poems; but we will also read The Wanderings of Oisin, The Old Age of Queen Maeve, and Baile and Aillinn, his early longer narrative poems. Later in life, some of his attention was directed at the occult, some of which shows up in later poems like Michael Robartes and the Dancer. Perhaps one of the most familiar of Yeats’s efforts was to mythologize Irish politics, particularly in the person of Charles Stuart Parnell followed by the martyrs of Easter, 1916, and his love of Maud Gonne.

Instructor: Lee Jacobus

Five Mondays: March 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24

6:30-8 P.M.

Wasch Center Butterfield Room: $120

Lee Jacobus

Lee A. Jacobus, professor of English emeritus, established the Irish Literature Program at the University of Connecticut, in Storrs. He is a past member of the American Committee on Irish Studies and a member of the International James Joyce Society. His publications include articles on Joyce and Irish literature as well as books on Shakespeare and Milton. His academic work includes, “A World of Ideas, The Bedford Introduction to Drama, and The Humanities through the Arts.” His recent fiction includes, “Volcanic Jesus,” ‘Crown Island,” and “The Romantic Soul of Emma Now.” His AB is from Brown, and his PhD is from Claremont Graduate University.