William Butler Yeats Biography | Author of Leda and the Swan

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William Butler Yeats was born on June 13, 1865, in the Dublin suburb of Sandymount. His father was a lawyer and a well-known portrait painter, and his mother was the daughter of a shipping merchant. Yeats began writing verse in his teens shortly after entering the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin. There he became interested in the occult, which remained a lifelong passion. In 1887, Yeats moved to London, where he became acquainted with some of the leading literary figures of his day. He also joined the Theosophical Society of Madame Blavatsky, where he furthered his interest in occult practices and magic.

In 1889, Yeats's first volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin, appeared to critical acclaim. The same year he met and fell in love with Maud Gonne, a passionate activist deeply committed to Irish nationalism. Under Gonne's influence, Yeats became increasingly involved in Ireland's political struggle for independence from...

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This section contains 535 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Leda and the Swan Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Leda and the Swan from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.