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The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore (Celtic, Irish) Paperback – August 10, 2011


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The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore (Celtic, Irish) + Celtic Myths and Legends + Celtic Gods and Heroes (Celtic, Irish)
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Product Details

  • Series: Celtic, Irish
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (August 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486436578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486436579
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, serving as its chief during its early years. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation." He was the first Irishman so honored. Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers whose greatest works were completed after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929) Yeats was born and educated in Dublin but spent his childhood in County Sligo. He studied poetry in his youth, and from an early age was fascinated by both Irish legends and the occult. Those topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted roughly until the turn of the century. His earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, and those slowly paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser and Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as to the lyricism of the Pre-Raphaelite poets. From 1900, Yeats' poetry grew more physical and realistic. He largely renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life. Over the years, Yeats adopted many different ideological positions, including, in the words of the critic Michael Valdez Moses, "those of radical nationalist, classical liberal, reactionary conservative and millenarian nihilist". --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Written in the elegant style of Yeats.
Donnie R. Walley
Amazing book, I fell in love with this right from the start!
Holly Newhouse Guidry
As a college student, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
dragonlady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chesbro on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Celtic Twilight, originally published in 1902, Yeats recites several accounts of encounters with the faerie folk and with the people of Ireland of the time which gives us insight into Irish folklore, myth and legend.

Yeats associates poetry with religious ideas and sentiment. And, I believe that he saw himself as writing for Ireland, but a shadowy Ireland of Celtic mysteries and legends, not the Ireland of the modern day. By modern day, of course, I relate this to the modern day of Yeats in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

In the introduction to Celtic Twilight Yeats states; "I have therefore written down accurately and candidly much that I have heard and seen, and, except by way of commentary, nothing that I have merely imagined. I have, however, been at no pains to separate my own beliefs from those of the peasantry, but have rather let my men and women, dhouls and faeries, go their way unoffended or defended by any argument of mine."

I got the strong impression from reading Celtic Twilight that Yeats actually believed in the existence of the faeries. Not just as some myth or legend, but as actual beings that exist in this world, though perhaps unseen by the common man. He wrote each story as if it was something that actually happened, having been related to him by the storyteller, or perhaps that which he had seen for himself in some past time, now recalled as he set pen to paper.

There is a depth to Yeats' writing that lies just below the surface, something that's perceived more than seen. The idea that perhaps magic and the faerie folk are alive in the world of today, but unseen, or perhaps only seen from time to time as a fleeting shadow until one knows just where to look.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daermi on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book probably should have been called, "Random Musings of Yeats." There is a little regional folklore recorded here, mostly from areas near where Yeats grew up, but it mostly pertains to events that have happened in the last couple generations, rather than being very old stories passed down over centuries. Yeats records a couple of his own trance experiences where he percieves faeries. But there are also entries about God and Christianity that are sometimes purely the author's own reflections and a couple entries about beautiful women as remembered by men who knew them, which have little to nothing to do with Celtic folklore. It reads more like a writer's journal of loosely related inspirational sources, than an anthology of folklore from circa 1900, which is what I was expecting. If you just like Yeats and are curious about the author's mind and spiritual beliefs, you might like this book. If you're doing research into Irish folklore, it's not very helpful.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By dragonlady on February 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I personally love W.B. Yeats. At first I was a little disappointed by the size of the book (it was thinner than I thought it would be), but it made up for it in content. I highly recommend this book to fans of Yeats, and to anyone following a similiar spiritual path to his. This book opens up Yeats' mind to you, the reader, and I hope you find this book as wonderful as I did! As a college student, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Donnie R. Walley on July 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Written in the elegant style of Yeats. Considered by some to be among his finest works. A journey into the heart and soul of Ireland. A time of Fae folk and superstition or some alter reality long forgotten?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judy Croome on August 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In THE CELTIC TWILIGHT Yeats, the spiritual mystic and poet, is in ascendance over the Nobel prize winning playwright. He gathers a delightful assortment of old Irish Folktales dealing with the Faerie, and the world beyond the veil of understanding. The stories are told with a casual acceptance of the existence of spiritual truths beyond our rational knowledge, tinged with embarrassment at that acceptance.

Underpinning the beautiful, lyrical writing, lies the melancholy of a gentle race, a mystical race, whose ancient wisdom has become lost as the world progresses scientifically and intellectually:

"...that decadence we call progress ... they are surely there, the divine people, for only we who have neither simplicity nor wisdom have denied them, and the simple of all times and the wise men of ancient times have seen them and even spoken to them."

The significance of these tales, apparently told to the poet by simple, country folk, is almost cautionary. Scattered throughout the stories are hints at Yeats' despair for humanity, for the spiritual centre that is struggling to hold in an evolving world becoming ever more sceptical of the presence of the Divine and materialistic in their ambitions:

"... all who sought after beautiful and wonderful things with too avid a thirst, lost peace and form and became shapeless and common"

This shift away from the "Golden Age," the age where the Divine presence permeated life on all levels, is not beneficial:

"... still the kindly and perfect world existed, but [lies] buried like a mass of roses under many spadefuls of earth"

"They are getting tired of the world.
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