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William Butler Yeats Biography | Poet

Photo of William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats, who is often considered to be one of the foremost figures of the 20th century literature, was born in Sandymount Castle, Dublin (Ireland) on June 13, 1865. Mr. Yeats was the son of a woman who descended from a wealthy family of merchants, Susan Pollexfen, and the son of a man who was a painter, John Butler Yeats. William had two sisters named Lolly and Lily, as well as a brother named Jack B., who was a very prominent painter of his time.

The Yeats family decided to depart to London within two years of Susan giving birth to William, but in 1872, William came back home and decided to live with his grandparents in County Sligo. In order to study at the Godolphin School in Hammersmith, he returned to England in 1874.

At the age of fifteen, William made his way back to Ireland and started to attend the Erasmus Smith Institute. At a later age, at the School of Art in Dublin, he began studying painting. In this school of art, he befriended writer George Russell, an individual who greatly influenced the writings of William Butler Yeats, as Mr. Russel had a contagious love for esotericism and mysticism in most of his writing pieces, which tended to entice William Butler Yeats. Along with Charles Johnson, they founded the Hermetic Society of Dublin.

At the age of twenty-two, William Butler Yeats returned to London, England. This time around in this city, he met Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, who was mainly responsible for the Theosophical Society. After some time, this well-known poet decided to leave the Theosophical Society to join the Golden Dawn, which was an occult society that was being led by S.L. MacGregor Mathers. Aleister Crowley was one of the main members of this occult society.

The greatest love of William Butler Yeats was Maud Gonne. He did everything that was in his power to marry her even when she married someone else and began having children. Mrs. Gonne had a daughter, Iseult, who Mr. Yeats viewed as his muse, but at the end, William was never able to get neither one of them.

Writer Gregory Isabella Augusta (known as Lady Gregory) was another important woman in his life. With her, he created the Abbey Theatre in 1901.

For this Irish author, emotional stability arrived in 1917 when he married the medium Georgie Hyde-Lees. American poet Ezra Pound, who worked as personal secretary for them, was the godfather of the wedding.

In 1922, William Butler Yeats was elected senator. This was a position he held until the year 1928. Mr. Yeats received the Novel Prize in 1923. At the age of seventy-three, he died in the French town of Menton on January 28, 1939. 

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