Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
The words of a dead man / Are modified in the guts of the living.W. H. Auden, “In Memory of W. B. Yeats”
K. P. S. Jochum's W. B. Yeats: A Classified Bibliography of Criticism (1990) lists over 10,000 items, and thousands more have appeared since its compilation. The present chapter offers suggestions for getting started with this material. It begins by considering such basic resources as bibliographies, scholarly editions, and biographies. It then outlines the major critical trends from the 1930s to the present.
Bibliographies, scholarly editions, and biographies
One first needs to know what Yeats wrote. Allan Wade's A Bibliography of the Writings of W. B. Yeats (1968) documents the poet's books as well as his contributions to periodicals and to books assembled by others. It also catalogs early studies of his work, and provides information about translations, radio broadcasts, and his sister's press. The 1978 edition of Jochum's Classified Bibliography lists a number of publications by Yeats that surfaced subsequent to Wade's inventory, and additional updates appear in Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies. For an account of the books owned by the poet, see Edward O'Shea's A Descriptive Catalog of W. B. Yeats's Library (1985).
Next comes the question of which editions to read. Yeats's revisions make this a complex matter, especially in the case of his poems.