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BOOK REVIEWS set themselves. It is then no wonder that their prose has become tired, their exposition indigestible, their points unnluminating. One thing we have learned from French feminists is that the way to subvert the binarism that supports patriarchy (Woman as "Other") is not to keep on reinforcing it by renewed aggression, but to celebrate diversity—in both poles of the opposition. Otherwise how are we to heal the wounds, open dialogue and create a New World of literature: All Wo/Men's Land. Claire M. Tylee Brunei University College, West London Yeats's Letters, III W. B. Yeats. The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats. Volume Three: 1901-1904. John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard, eds. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. liv + 781pp. $55.00 THE PUBLICATION of Yeats's Collected Letters proceeds erratically . Volume 1, covering the years 1865-1895, appeared in 1986. Volume 2, which will include the years 1896-1900, is apparently in active preparation. Now we have volume 3; the remaining volumes may not appear for several years to come. Some of the reasons for these delays are the sheer mass, the complexity, and the allusiveness of the material, its worldwide distribution, and the high and exacting standards set by John Kelly, the general editor of the whole series. Volume 3 contains close to 700 items, addressed to almost 200 different correspondents; some of the letters are, however, ghosts, i.e. letters known to have been written but since lost or destroyed. This is especially and regrettably the case of Yeats's letters to Maud Gonne, of which only a few survive. Luckily, among them is one of four anguished letters in which Yeats tries to dissuade the great love of his life from marrying John MacBride. Other major recipients are Lady Gregory (to whom Yeats addresses some of his most personal and candid letters), the Fay brothers, John Quinn, and George William Russell ("AE"). The editors provide a useful chronology, very detailed for the four years covered by the letters, an introduction summarizing major events and preoccupations, an amazing number of notes, and a biographical appendix that provides extended information about a number of important persons and institutions, namely the Abbey Theatre, Padraic Colum, Edward Gordon Craig, the Fay brothers, Lady Gregory, Arthur Griffith, Miss Horniman, the Irish Dramatic Movement, James Joyce, the Lon507 ELT 38:4 1995 don theater societies, the "Speaking to the Psaltery" performances, John Quinn, and John Millington Synge. There is also an immensely helpful 40-page index. All in all, it is a wonderful book, particularly as far as the editorial groundwork and byways are concerned. There is much fascinating material in the notes, üluminating the Dublin and London literary scenes and some of their protagonists in the early years of the century. The letters themselves are a different matter; their literary value and their more general insights that lift them out of the frequently trivial occasions of their production are rather variable. In their introduction the editors highlight the important spoils to be salvaged from the huge amorphous pile: Maud Gonne's marriage, a deepening interest in drama, the gradual abandonment of the dreamy Celtic Twilight style under the influence of Synge and others, the discovery of Irish heroic literature and the efforts to create a national Irish literature, active involvement in all sorts of public controversies (for instance the King's visit to Ireland), the "disputes in the Golden Dawn," a rethinking of the poetic creed and its practical consequences, the discovery of Nietzsche through the good offices of John Quinn, the first American lecture tour of 1903-1904, and the problems preceding the opening of the Abbey Theatre. To this one might add the many discussions of his own work, especially of the early essays and the plays Cathleen ni Houlihan, The Hour-Glass, The King's Threshold, and Where There Is Nothing, that were in the process of being conceived, written, and revised. To arrive at these insights one has to expend a considerable amount of work in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. Rarely does one find letters where Yeats sticks to one topic only, i.e. engages in purely literary, aesthetic, theatrical...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 507-510
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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