When You Are Old: Early Poems, Plays, and Fairy Tales (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
Beautiful early writings by one of the 20th century’s greatest poets on the 150th anniversary of his birth
A Penguin Classic
The poems, prose, and drama gathered in When You Are Old present a fresh portrait of the Nobel Prize–winning writer as a younger man: the 1890s aesthete who dressed as a dandy, collected Irish folklore, dabbled in magic, and wrote heartrending poems for his beloved, the beautiful, elusive Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne. Included here are such celebrated, lyrical poems as “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” and “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” as well as Yeats’s imaginative retellings of Irish fairytales—including his first major poem, “The Wanderings of Oisin,” based on a Celtic fable—and his critical writings, which offer a fascinating window onto his artistic theories. Through these enchanting works, readers will encounter Yeats as the mystical, lovelorn bard and Irish nationalist popular during his own lifetime.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) was one of the most influential English-language poets of the twentieth century. He received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Rob Doggett (introduction) is a professor of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo. He is the author of Deep-Rooted Things: Empire and Nation in the Poetry and Drama of William Butler Yeats.
By the Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature