Item description for The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats (Naxos Audio) by John Kavanagh...
William Butler Yeats was a poet, playwright, essayist, politician, occultist, astrologer, founder of a national theatre, correspondent, lover, husband and father. This work presents his major poems in the context of his rich and eventful life.
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Of course you could get the abridged version instead, but miss much Feb 10, 2009
Oddly, Naxos repackaged much of the material here into its The Great Poets W B Yeats, which explains some of the gaps over there, where the narrator prepares us for the death of Maude Gonne, but reads a poem from later in the series, and where the narrator prepares us for the executions of 1916, but then we hear the poem of the Irish Air Man.
Here we get the whole nine yards. Get this one instead. The other is a patchwork; this is whole and entire. The other may have most of these poems in the exact same recordings; here we have them all, plus.
The brochure contains the same four page analytical biography by John Kavanaugh, but here we have more extensive biographical materials upon the two disks themselves, including the death of Olivia Shakespear - but without her poem. The other is only one disk; here two.
Especially welcome is the early long extract (over seven minutes) from the Wanderings of Oisin. We also find only here (if memory serves me well) To the Rose upon the Rood of Time, The Pity of Love, The Sorrow of Love, When You are Old, A Dream of Death, The host of the Air, The Song of Wandering Aehgus, The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love, The Caps and Bells, The Secret Rose, Adam's Curse, No Second troy, To a Child Dancing in the Wind, The Cold Heaven, September 1913, Easter 1916, The Rose Tree, Solomon to Sheba, To a Young Beauty, The Second Coming, In Memory of Eva Gore- . . ., A Dialogue of Self and Soul, At Alcegiras . . ., The Choice, three from the Crazy Jane cycle, Mohini Chatterjee, the Circus Animal's Desertion, plus several more which are not on the other disk, plus all that are available upon that other disk, over two and one half hours of poems and biography.
In brief therefore this serves well for any study of WB "Willie" Yeats and his fifty years of writing. A classroom could well benefit from its hearing while the professor naps; any high school or university library would find this in continual rotation. But please do not go for the other, abridged collection of these same recordings from Naxos, as sinful an abridgment as their abridged edition of Ulysses (Abridged) (Modern Fiction) by two of their voices here, and later corrected in totum with Ulysses (Naxos AudioBooks). For one thing that other disks may leave you scratching your head when the narrator's introduction does not match the poem immediately following, scratching your head with the feeling something is missing. It is. The full collection here.
Excellent, professional recording. You can figure out a way to hear the poems or poem you wish to hear without other voices and interjections from biographical narration on a programmable CD player. You will not be sorry; as the spirit of Mr. Yeats revisits you, comforting as to Cuchulain.
Please see as well his printed The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Vol. 1: The Poems, 2nd Edition in their many volumes divided by type, up through The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Volume X: Later Articles and Reviews : Uncollected Articles, Reviews, and Radio Broadcasts Written After 1900. See also the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's selection at The Faber Yeats: Poems Selected by Seamus Heaney (Poet to Poet: An Essential Choice of Classic Verse). Above all, know your Yeats through the excellent Professor Helen Vendler's Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form.