William Butter Yeats, who some critics feel was the greatest English language poet of our century, led a life of many contradictions. He was Ireland's most revered writer and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But in his private life, Yeats struggled with passionate, if unrequited, relationships with women and was haunted by the spirits of his ancestors. Renowned biographer Brenda Maddox examines the poet's life through the prism of his personal obsession with the supernatural and otherworldly. She considers for the first time the Automatic Script, the trancelike communication with supposed spirits that he and his much younger wife. Georgie, conducted during the early years of their marriage. Writing with edge, wit, and energy, she finds the essential clues to Yeats's life and work in his unusual relationships with women, most particularly Maude and Iseult Gonne, his wife Georgie, and his rarely discussed mother.
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Brenda Maddox is an award-winning biographer whose work has been translated into ten languages. Nora: A Biography of Nora Joyce, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Silver PEN Award, and the French Prix du Mailleur Livre Etranger. Her life of D. H. Lawrence won the Whitbread Biography Award in 1974, and Yeats's Ghosts, on the married life of W. B. Yeats, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 1998. She has been Home Affairs Editor for the Economist, has served as chairman of the Association of British Science Writers and is a member of the Royal Society's Science and Society Committee. She lives in London and Mid-Wales.Review:
?"Yeats's Ghosts is a rich, engrossing, and rewarding work. Maddox weaves a racy story filled with humor and perspicacity.?-- "The New Yorker?Sympathetic and humane. . . . A blithe, energetic, jolly debunking operation. . . . a vivid story . . . with rational humor. . . . This is a funny book.?-- "New York Times Book Review?Maddox's book . . . offers an intriguing glimpse into the dark, sometimes steamy, corners of the poet's singular mind.?-- "Publisher's Weekly"An astonishing accomplishment?the best account we have of Yeats's tricky private life?a complex, elegant delight." --" Literary Review "This book, like Yeats's life, is full of wonderful women and preposterous men. It's an unqualified delight from start to finish." --" The Observer "Maddox has been a leader in broadcasting biography into a popular genre by producing dazzling authentic, readable lives." Yeats's Ghosts is her usual tightrope performance-perceptive, close-focus, compelling..."--" Financial Times?A riveting portrait of Yeats.? -- "Hartford Courant"Will throw new light on Yeats...the work of a highly-respected journalist and biographer."--" The Irish Times"Sparkling, racy, but always carefully considered." --" Sunday Times?Maddox approaches Yeats with the insight and wit she brought to her lives of James Joyce's wife (1988) and D.H. Lawrence (1994). . . . The ?scary and the splendid' sides of Yeats's personality neatly appraised.?--"Kirkus Reviews?Sensible, discreet, and brisk. . . . Well done.?--"Boston Sunday GlobeA ?splendid new biography. Maddox has structured her biography with the selective freedom of a novel.?--"Newsday?This book is worth reading for the sheer joy of encountering the poetry within thecontext that it was written. . . . Effectively researched and written.?--"Booklist?An expert yet readable portrait . . . vividly depicted by Maddox . . . Readers will enjoy this book not only for its touching portrayal of an unlikely marriage but also for its evocation of the transforming magic that enabled Yeats's best-remembered poems to rise out of the daily clutter of a great mind.?--Pittsburgh Post "Gazette?This biography, rich with insight and feminist perspective, will inform future discourse about the literary figure . . .?--"Book
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