A William Butler Yeats encyclopedia by Yeats, William Butler; Yeats, William Butler; McCready, Sam

By Yeats, William Butler; Yeats, William Butler; McCready, Sam

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Harvard University Press, 1989. ADONIS, a beautiful young man in Greek mythology. He was loved by the goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone. After he was killed by a boar, Zeus brought him back to life and ordered him to spend half the year above the ground with Aphrodite and the other half in the underworld with Persephone. His death and resurrection are symbolic of the seasonal cycle of the year. In his essay on Edmund Spenser (EI. 356–83), WBY celebrates the pagan imagery of Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, with its references to Venus (the Roman Aphrodite) and to the gardens of Adonis.

She refuses and dies, having sold her soul to the devil. Aleel does not feature in the version of the story that appears in WBY’s Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888). He is an invention of WBY, and subsequent revisions of the play develop the role until Aleel appears in every scene. It may be that WBY increasingly identified the self-sacrifice of the Countess Cathleen with the political fanaticism of Maud Gonne and saw himself in the role of the rejected poet, unsuccessfully offering an alternative existence in dreams and poetry.

446). He had three volumes of poetry and a play by Allingham in his library (OS. nos. 33–36). REFERENCES: Hill, George Birkbeck, ed. Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to William Allingham, 1854–1870. London: Fisher Unwin, 1897; Marcus, Phillip L. Yeats and the Beginning of the Irish Renaissance. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987; Warner, Alan. William Allingham. : Bucknell University Press, 1975; Warner, Alan. ’’ Irish Booklore 2 (1976); Welch, Robert. ’’ In Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats.

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