This collection of Yeats' love poetry begins with his youthful, romantic idealism. It follows with his disillusionment in middle age after Maud Gonne rejected him, and reflects the change in his poetry to a more direct, austere and forceful style. Yeats' comments on his loves in later life are particularly evocative and provide deeply moving portraits of people and places. They combine much of the beauty he created and imparted to the Celtic Revival with his later outspoken, sardonic treatment of sexuality. In old age, Yeats wrote with an increasing sense of urgency, at times of disappointment and even of tragedy, but he continued to portray the experience of love with poignancy and insight. Right up to his death his love poems reflect the developing mind of a genius, still capable of remaking himself, his image and his ideas with compelling immediacy.
Professor A. Norman Jeffares is widely recognised as the world's foremost authority on Yeats. Here with an introduction and extensive notes, he places Yeats's poetry within the context of his varied loves.