No Slouching: A Fresh Look At Yeats As Playwright

W. B. Yeats

W. B. Yeats

Dwight Garner has an article in today’s Times about a theatrical revisiting of Yeats’ plays to mark the 70th anniversary of his death.

The Irish Repertory Theater in Manhattan, coming off its elegant restaging of Brian Friel’s 1979 play, “Aristocrats,” is bringing not just a few of Yeats’s plays back but all of them. The theater’s Yeats Project is a chance — like catching sight of some dignified, gangly, highly endangered bird — to see something quite rare. Yeats’s plays are overdue for a critical re-evaluation.

He also notes the influence Yeats the poet has had on modern authors, including Joan Didion:

Yeats’s work remains a happy hunting ground for writers looking for titles for their books, from Chinua Achebe (“Things Fall Apart”) to Joan Didion (“Slouching Towards Bethlehem”) to Cormac McCarthy (“No Country for Old Men”).

However, Yeats believed his true calling lay in theatre work. “I believe myself to be a dramatist,” he declared in 1919. “I seem to myself most alive at the moment when a roomful of people have the one lofty emotion.”


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