Willie Yeats

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 3 (Autumn 2004), Letters, Letters, Volume 12



—Thank you for the review of my book W.B. Yeats: Vain, Glorious, Lout. A Maker of Modern Ireland, by Derek Hand (HI 12.2, Summer 2004). If I might make a few points. I use the name ‘Willie’ for W.B. Yeats because that was how he was known by his family and friends. All of Maud Gonne’s letters use that term. I spelled Maud’s name as ‘Maude’ in the chapter devoted to her because her name was thus spelled quite commonly in France, where she lived for so long. It has been used by other writers. It was an attempt to emphasise the French connection, which I think does not get adequate attention. Lastly I am full of admiration for the work of Willie Yeats, both as a poet and as a patriotic Irishman. I devoted two chapters to these aspects of his life—‘Glorious Willie Yeats’ and ‘Nation Builder’. Indeed, on p. 160 I wrote:
‘One of Senator Yeats’ finest moments came on 14 March 1923, when he spoke in a measured way in the Senate on the “Griffith Settlement Bill”. Given what had passed between the Griffith/Gonne/MacBride axis, and Yeats, his words were most moving.’
—Yours etc.,


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