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The Green Helmet and Other Poems Hardcover – 10 Sep 2010
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About the Author
William Butler Yeats is generally considered to be Ireland s greatest poet, living or dead, and one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.
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The real surprise here is the verse drama The Green Helmet, which combines Celtic mythology, Irish politics, social criticism, and medieval legend in a tightly plotted folk tale. The play's rhymed dialogue is clear and readable, even more than the poems that precede it. With a plot that echoes Gawain and the Green Knight, Yeats's Irish heroes Laegaire (read as Leary), Conall, and Cuchulain battle each other as they try to outwit a faerie-like, fox-eyed trickster known as the Red Man. While there's plenty of political commentary in the lines ("Here neighbour wars on neighbour and why there is no man knows, / And if a man is lucky all wish his luck away, And take his good name from him between a day and a day."), the language is free of Symbolist influence and the mythological allusions don't overwhelm. This is both an accessible and a satisfying short play.
The mythology and arcane history that Yeats used to literally create the Irish experience has nothing to match it in literary history although a case may by made for Homer and the Greeks. Yes, William Butler Yeats is that much of a profound artist.