Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Ideas of Good and Evil by W. B. Yeats
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
201515,329 (5)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

This book was not what I expected from the title, but neither was it less than I expected. Rather than a discussion on good and evil as conditions of the human soul, this was a collection of essays about art written during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (See titles below)

Some discussions were perhaps more relevant during the time the essays were written, but most of Yeats’ thoughts could, with a little effort, be applied to today’s world. His thoughts on symbolism versus allegory, art as “the theatre of commerce” versus art as a “great Passion” and the essays on William Blake are marvellous.

Underpinning his thoughts is Yeats’ fascination with spiritual mysticism and, for me, this adds a layer of meaning to his words that speaks to my soul of things Divine and Eternal; he touches on the great mystery of what makes great art rather than popular art by comparing the artistic life with the spiritual life of the religious mystic. This was both inspiring and comforting, and reminded me of why I continue to write the stories and poems that I do.

IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL was not always an easy book to read; it requires concentration, as the style does reflect that of Yeats’ own era, but the insights and wisdom that imbue Yeats’ work with both magic and passion make the effort worth it.

Essays included in “Ideas of Good and Evil” by W B Yeats:

What is 'popular poetry'?
Speaking to the psaltery
The happiest of the poets
The philosophy of Shelley's poetry
At Stratford-on-Avon
William Blake and the imagination
William Blake and his illustrations to the Divine comedy
Symbolism in painting
The symbolism of poetry
The theatre
The Celtic element in literature
The autumn of the body
The moods
The body of Father Christian Rosencrux
The return of Ulysses
Ireland and the arts
The Galway plains
Emotion of multitudes ( )
  JudyCroome | Dec 27, 2012 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

This early (1903) volume of essays, some written in an allusive style, includes What is Popular Poetry'?", Speaking to the Psaltery," Magic," The Happiest of the Poets," The Philosophy of Shelley's Poetry at Stratford-on-Avon," William Blake and the Imagination," Symbolism in Painting," Symbolism in Poetry," The Celtic Element in Literature," and The Theatre."… (more)

Legacy Library: William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See William Butler Yeats's legacy profile.

See William Butler Yeats's author page.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 wanted2 free
4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (5)
5 1


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,596,504 books! | Top bar: Always visible