The Turbulent Lives of Yeats's Painted Horses.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Anthony J. Cuda, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: HAD THINGS GONE the way he hoped, Yeats would have been in Japan by 1921, combing the museums and mountains for ancient paintings and statuary, or perhaps wandering through `some forgotten city, where the streets are full of grass' and `where there is no sound but that of some temple bell'.1 Instead, on 27 June he was still in Oxford writing wistfully to his friend Yone Noguchi, the poet who had visited him and Ezra Pound at Stone Cottage in 1913, spent time with him in New York in 1919, and returned to Keio University in Japan to arrange an invitation for him to lecture there for two years: `I wish I had found my way to your country a year or so ago', Yeats admits regretfully, `and were still there'.2 He had received the invitation two years before, on 9 July 1919, had written about it with growing excitement in the following months, but in November his eminently frugal `Instructors' (with no little assistance from his wife) firmly directed him to decline the offer.3 By the time he wrote to Noguchi in 1921, he had reluctantly resigned himself to poring over books of paintings by Japanese artists, to settling for an ancient Japan of the imagination, composed mainly of `the lives E...1 of these painters'. `[T]heir talks, their loves, their religion, their friends', he implores Noguchi, `I would like to know these things minutely'.4 Perhaps it was this sense of disappointment and the subsequent renewal of interest in Japanese painting that provoked a boyhood memory only a few months before, when he was preparing Four Years: 1887-1891 for its upcoming serial publication in the London Mercury and the Dial.5

Additional Information

Yeats Annual 17: Influence and Confluence. Ed. Warwick Gould. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 37-50
Language: English
Date: 2007
William Butler Yeats, Review, Criticism

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