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A Reader's Guide to William Butler Yeats (Reader's Guides) Paperback – June 1, 1996

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A Reader's Guide to William Butler Yeats (Reader's Guides) + The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Provides a background for understanding Yeats's total work and clarifies the structure, images and meanings of the various lyrics. (New York Herald Tribune)

About the Author

John Unterecker, a leading scholar on Yeats, taught at Columbia University and the University of Hawaii.
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Product Details

  • Series: Reader's Guides
  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press; Reprint edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815603401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815603405
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,335,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Grebner on November 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was hoping for a companion to read alongside the poetry, helping me understand Yeats' sometimes complex language and obscure imagery. Unfortunately, the Reader's Guide is a set of obscure essays on what Yeats may or may not have meant, with no connection to specific poems except that most of them are touched upon somewhere in the index. Nor does it make up for its lack of practical usefulness by being brilliant in itself; it reads like an overwrought book report.

I suppose it would be too much to hope that somebody would write a line-by-line translation into accessible modern American English, but that's what would help this American enjoy Yeats.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Signore on April 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
For those who are looking for a guide to the poems, I would suggest David Ross' "Critical Companion...." which is far more informative when it comes to each poem, although he does not analyze every poem. Unterecker's work attempts to present overall themes that unify the diversity of masks that Yeats often assumes but too often waddles into biographical interpretation. For instance, a poem about the poet's spiritual struggle to create amid a chaotic world that makes so many demands it could spiritually kill you, evolves into a commentary on Yeats and the idealized female and the parallels of that real person to an Irish myth. Yeats often uses this motif, but it serves as an idea to think beyond the simple relationship of a man obsessed with a woman. This approach is interesting - and sometimes helpful- but, as one reviewer said, the text reads like a high school essay of sorts. Consequently, the title should not claim to be a guide but an overview of the works by a complex writer.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
In terms of understanding the writings of WB Yeats, this book is a must. It provides insights into otherwised missed subtleties that allows for a greater appreciation of the work of a great artist. (I use the diction of great artist because this truely describes his work). Anyway, this book is well written and recommended by myself.
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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William F. Dougherty on April 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Unterecker's "Reader's Guide," a vade mecum for the apprentice
or seasoned reader, informs and instructs. As commentary or teaching tool, it advances a concise, systematic way to interpret the ideas, literary devices, images, symbols, and occult motifs that permeate Yeats's poetry, a thematic
analysis that connects one poem with another and reveals the visionary design at the center of Yeats's work. From the allegorical quest in "The Wanderings of Oisin" to the meditative panorama of "Under Ben Bulben," Unterecker explicates the motifs of Yeats's evolving mythology of a unified self.
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