Group Five presents: William Butler Yeats' "The Circus Animals' Desertion." Yeats welcomes you to his memories.


Read the Poem

Section One

Section Two

Section Three

Poetic Structure

Meet The Group

Yeats' Life


The Life of William Butler Yeats:

What Makes Yeats:

William Butler Yeats was born in Ireland in the year 1865 and died in 1939. He published a huge volume of work between the 1880's and 1939 -- in fact, he was working until the day before he died. Yeats first love was for Maude Gonne, whom he met in 1889. She had huge influence on his poetry throughout his life. He repeatedly asked for her hand in marriage. She repeatedly declined.

Yeats' life may most easily be divided into three sections: Early Yeats (1865-1910;) Middle Yeats (1914-1921;) and Late Yeats (1921-1939.)

Early Yeats - 1865-1910:

This time in Yeats life is characterized by fantasy and imagination. These poems often tell the stories of Irish folklore and fantasy.

Middle Yeats - 1914-1921:

This was a transition time for the Great Poet. He began to be more interested in realism and the issues facing Ireland.

Late Yeats - 1921-1939:

Our poem, "The Circus Animals' Desertion," falls into this category. Yeats spent this time looking back on his life and considering his work.

Yeats, In Conclusion:

W.B. Yeats is a unique poet in that his work evolved throughout his life. The three parts of Yeats' working life are separate and distinct. It is this fact that makes Yeats even more interesting. In short, Yeats is arguably one of the greatest poets of all time. He is consistently ranked with Shakespeare and Chaucer. "The Circus Animals' Desertion" is but one example of the greatness of Yeats' work.

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