Autobiographies Criticism

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Most criticism on Yeats addresses his poetry, and many critics believe him to be the greatest poet in the English language. However, Yeats's prose has received similar praise. Edmund Wilson, in his book, Axel's Castle: A Study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930, wrote that Yeats's prose matured as the writer himself matured. Writing when Yeats was still alive, Wilson praised the poet's prose as disciplined, adding, "Yeats is today a master of prose as well as a great poet."

Speaking specifically of one of the essays in Autobiographies, "The Trembling of the Veil" (originally published as a separate work in 1922), Wilson viewed Yeats's prose style almost with relief, as if it were a gift from a more artful past. "Yeats has achieved a combination of grandeur with a certain pungency and homeliness," he wrote. "The prose of Yeats, in our contemporary literature, is like the product of...

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