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William Butler Yeats

(1865-1939)

William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin on June 13, 1865. He was educated in London and Dublin. After completing high school he decided he wanted to be an artist and poet and began attending art school. He left not too long after because he decided to concentrate on his poetry.

Yeats was interested in many kinds of folklore and mythology, and in his early works he often wrote on pagan and Irish themes. On a visit in Ireland, he met Maud Gonne, and actress and Irish nationalist for whom he suffered an unrequited love. However, she inspired much of his early works and because of her he became interested in the Irish movement for independence. In 1922 he became a Senator of the Irish Free State.

It is generally considered that as Yeats grew older his poetry become more refined and perfected, and his later works are acknowledged to be his best. In 1923, Yeats won the Nobel Prize. He died in France in 1939 and was buried in Ireland.