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Yeats's Ghosts by Brenda Maddox
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Yeats's Ghosts (1999)

by Brenda Maddox

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060174943, Hardcover)

Biographer Brenda Maddox is interested in a very specific element of W.B. Yeats' life--his relationship with his wife--so she employs an unusual strategy for a biography. She begins Yeats' Ghosts more than halfway through Yeats' life--1917, when the poet is 51. She injects readers into her subject's life just as Yeats' relationship with "George," Georgie Hyde-Lees, is culminating in marriage. Yeats had been in love with another woman, Maud Gonne (reputedly "the most beautiful woman in Ireland"), but George developed what Maddox considers "one of the most ingenious strategies ever tried to take a husband's mind off another woman." Capitalizing on Yeats' fascination with the occult, she revealed herself to be a spirit medium, adept at "automatic writing." Yeats studied the garbled messages George channeled from these "Communicators" and forged the results into his extraordinarily powerful late poetry. As Maddox makes plain, George used her husband's belief in her spiritual talents to control him, "cutting Yeats off from his other occult associates and making him wholly dependent on her." With its strong focus on the interests and obsessions that informed Yeats' work, rather than the poetry itself, this subtly written biography offers a rare insight into the imaginative life of a great poet. --Adam Roberts, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:35 -0400)

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