This new, standard edition is the first to provide explanatory notes. The text has been rigorously checked against earlier editions and manuscripts. The index usefully includes both the text and the notes. (I am editor of the book.)
The more I have learnt about Yeats and his life the more approachable and enjoyable I have found his poetry. I bought this book for a close friend and fellow lover of Yeats poetry and read it after she did. Yeats writes about his life and philosophy with the same skill and breadth he brings to his poetry. I found the notes added for this edition both useful and interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Yeats, his philosophy, life and poetry.
Yeats is without doubt one of the great English language poets of the twentieth century . His greatest poems and lines are in the hearts and minds of most lovers of poetry. How disappointing then to feel that the person is in many ways so mediocre in both his thought and his personal relationships. The whole business of automatic writing is one part of it. But also the whole search for some kind of mythic system smacks of superstition, and perhaps makes Yeats suitable for an age where the 'New Age' sections of bookstores are far larger than the Religion of Philosophy sections.
As a person Yeats seems a somewhat remote husband and distant relative even to his closest family members. This autobiography has no great moving intellectual center, no ideas which truly make sense in understanding our world . " Things fall apart the center does not hold, " the great lines which describe our condition are unfortunately not complemented by a true and deep understanding of the human situation.