Turning and Turning: The Evolution of the Poetry of W.B. Yeats

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William Butler Yeats, born in 1865, is regarded as one of the pioneers of poetry in the 1900s. He is most well-remembered for his work focusing on the myths, folklore and history of Ireland, his home nation, but his other pieces have also found their way into the hearts of people around the world past and present. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to English and Irish literature. Along with Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot, he is one of the most famous canonical Modernist poets: a genre of literature characterized by the use of free verse, concision, and a more musical sound to their writings (Surette).
Born into a well-off Irish family, William Butler Yeats became accustomed to order and regularity at an
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His infatuation with her led him to ask for her hand in marriage at least four times, which she never accepted though they remained friends (Jeffares).
In 1914, modern technology in combination with greedy human nature sparked the most brutal war that Europe had ever seen: World War I. Every corner of the continent was rattled by the trench warfare, and every home became fighting grounds. With 9 million dead, there was nowhere to hide from the violence, and it had a profound impact on the works of artists of the time period. William Butler Yeats, an Irish poet and playwright was one of those strongly affected by the war. With no end in sight and thousands of men falling dead each day that the war continued, many people began to question if the world violence would ever cease (Duffy). At the same time, social and political unrest in Ireland gave rise to a revolution against British oppression that resulted in more violence that struck even closer to home for Yeats. An uprising, later dubbed the Easter Rebellion, sparked the start of the Irish demand for independence and the provisional establishment of Irish Republican government in 1916. But the uprising was not free of blood; four hundred British soldiers and seventy-five Irish nationalists were buried at the end of the day. This gruesome, though small, battle ushered in civil war that would consume the country until the Irish Free State was

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