The Lake Isle of Innisfree Historical Context

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In the 1880s, when Yeats wrote "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," Ireland was in economic and political turmoil, and Yeats and his family were struggling financially. It is not surprising that the sound of a water fountain on a bustling London street would remind him of the lapping water of Lough Gill and stir the boyhood dream he had of living on Innisfree, unencumbered by the demands of modern urban life.

Ireland was an agricultural country in the nineteenth century, but British landlords controlled many farms. Farmers had fought for almost three centuries for greater say in their livelihood. In the 1880s, they finally achieved some success. The leader for Irish land reform and Home Rule (i.e., a subordinate parliament for Ireland) was Charles Steward Parnell (1846-1891), often referred to as the "uncrowned King of Ireland." Parnell, a wealthy Protestant landlord who empathized with the plight of the Irish...

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This section contains 656 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lake Isle of Innisfree Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Lake Isle of Innisfree from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.