WB Yeats and Maud Gonne love story | Ireland Calling
In the early part of his life, Yeats was a Romantic (capital R), heavily influenced by Rossetti, Shelley and other pre-Raphaelites and Romantics. SO here, under airtight, light-shielding glass, is a notebook given to William Butler Yeats in by Maud Gonne, the beautiful, brainy feminist. Maud Gonne, Irish revolutionary, feminist, radical, and lifelong poetic muse of William Butler Yeats, was born on December 20 in
Official Yeats biographer Roy Foster points out that Yeats not only remained friends with most of his past lovers, he also relied heavily on mutually supportive friendships with women. His great friendship with Lady Augusta Gregory sustained him through years of turmoil and with her, he embarked on the great enterprise of a national theatre, an emblem of Irish culture, a forum where "a mob would become a people". He described her in a letter as "the only person I could tell every thought" and said she was "more than a mother, friend, sister or brother" to him.
Another friend since childhood was the revolutionary Constance Gore Booth later to become Countess Markievicz and her sister Eva. In the summer ofMaud Gonne now a widow after the executions rejected another marriage proposal from Yeats.
He just as promptly proposed to her daughter, Iseult, and was similarly rejected. He was relieved when the "wild gusts of feeling" provoked by the Lolita-like Iseult subsided in favor of "a new life of work and common interest" with his wife-to-be George Hyde-Lees in whom he saw the same virtues he associated with Lady Gregory.
He introduced Georgie to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a Kensington-based occult group of which he was a member.
Within weeks of his final proposal to Gonne, Yeats, then 53, proposed to year-old George and they were married in a registry office in October When it became obvious that Yeats was unhappy on honeymoon, George astonished her husband by beginning the automatic writing that was to consume the energies of both for over five years and which resulted in his prose book, A Vision.
The poems and plays that resulted from this experience are said to represent the most significant transformation and growth of his entire career and include such masterpieces of literary modernism as Michael Robartes and the Dancer with 'Easter ', 'The Second Coming' and 'A Prayer for My Daughter' as well as The Tower containing 'Sailing to Byzantium', 'Meditations in Time of Civil War', 'Leda and the Swan' and 'Among Schoolchildren'.
During that time, he became a father when he and George had a daughter, Anne, infollowed by son Michael in Professor Roche notes that George spent much of the s "accommodating her husband's strange and complex relationships with other women old and young".
InYeats, who had been suffering from both sexual and artistic impotence for three years, had a Steinach operation, a type of vasectomy, and he claimed to go through what he called 'a second puberty'.
He had close relations with the lesbian poet Dorothy Wellesley and spent a lot of time with journalist Edith Shackleton-Heald in her home in Sussex. Her steadfast rejection of his proposals bit so deeply into his soul that he never ceased to fashion glorious poetry about her beauty, her talents, and the mystery of her personality.
She was to Yeats what Beatrice was to Dante. And thus, Yeats made her a permanent figure of romance and myth throughout the English-speaking world. But such is life. Writers immortalize their subjects in a way that sometimes casts a longer shadow than showing up in history books.
Theirs was one of the greatest and most productive unrequited love affairs of all time. InGonne wrote to Yeats: The two met in In after years I persuaded myself that I felt premonnitory excitement at the first reading of her name. Presently she drove up to our house in Bedford Park … I had never thought to see in a living woman so great beauty. It belonged to famous pictures, to poetry, to some legendary past.
A complexion like the blossom of apples, and yet face and body had the beauty of lineaments which Blake calls the highest beauty because it changes least from youth to age, and a stature so great that she seemed of a divine race.
Her movements were worthy of her form, and I understood at last why the poet of antiquity, where we would but speak of face and form, sings, loving some lady, that she paces like a goddess. She is not only very handsome but very clever. Though her politics in European matters be a little sensational … It was pleasant however to hear her attacking a young military man from India who was there, on English rule in India.
She herself will make many converts. Did I tell you how much I admire Maud Gonne? At that point, she was far more formidable a personality than he was, with a larger reputation.
He was 23 years old, a young poet, a nobody. She had already lived in Paris, had a notorious personal life, and was at the forefront of the new movement that Yeats would eventually help champion. Gonne was wedded to politics, while Yeats focused on Irish culture, writing poems of Celtic myths and legends, opening up space for the Irish in opposition to the British literary dominance. Yeats also spent his time creating the Abbey Theatre and nurturing other young Irish writers, encouraging them to dig into their Irish-ness he encouraged young playwright John Millington Synge: Give up Paris, you will never create anything by reading Racine, and Arthur Symons will always be a better critic of French literature.
Go to the Arran Islands. Live there as if you were one of the people themselves; express a life that has never found expression. This was revelatory at the time.
“But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you.” – Happy Birthday, Maud Gonne
The Irish were seen as nothing: Cultural insecurity was almost total, and Yeats set out to overturn that. Yeats fell in love with Gonne from the moment he met her. They attempted to meet up in their dreams. They would check in afterwards via letter: He loved her all the days of his life. They probably did consummate their relationship, at least once, but she — perhaps smartly — refused to enter into a domestic situation with him.
He, torn up by this, poured all his torment and love into his writing, and we are all the richer for it. We have her refusal of him to thank for all of those beautiful poems. To quote one of my great acting teachers Doug Moston: You take your pain — and you make it sublime. The Gonne-Yeats Letters The only mark against it is unavoidable: So the correspondence, as it stands, is mostly just her side of it. A couple of his letters to her survive, but not many. It is a great loss.
Her tone is all over the place, fired up, contemplative, bossy as hell.
Indie Author & Poet Orna Ross
They were not polite with one another. Maud told him exactly what she thought, no holds barred. She could not let it go. Willie, who cares about that silly theatre. Do more important work. History has proven her wrong. This dynamic was a two-way street. He was not shy in telling her what he thought of her behavior. He was brutal about her decision to get baptized into the Catholic Church. This dismayed and horrified him.
Gonne girls: The women who fired WB Yeats's passion - zolyblog.info
Theirs is a fascinating philosophical divide, and although we only have her side of the argument, his can be guessed at from her responses. Their letters show true intimacy and a relationship of equal standing. Only really good friends can talk to one another in these tones of rough raw truth.
I, myself, would have said to her multiple times: They have agreed to disagree about politics, and once they agree to disagree there is nothing more to talk about, really. Seamus Heaney wrote about their mystical connection: