Nebulous thoughts on Yeats’ “Transitional Period”

The more I read of Yeats’ poetry and the personal life behind it, the more he sounds like the stereotypical “Nice Guy” whining about how unfair women are. The woman he had a crush on spurns him? He changes his entire poetic form.  Much of his earlier writing (Most blatantly Cathleen ni Houlihan) is aimed at impressing or attracting Maude Gonne, and one of his first poems after she unequivocally “dumps” him is a two-stanza affair comparing her to Helen causing the destruction of Troy. Combined with the “Bitch/Witch” switch he just seems incredibly petty. I wonder if this emotionality is a necessary part of writing great poetry. I think the lesson to be learned here is that it is impossible to truly separate oneself from one’s poetry and prose.

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