The publication of The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats proceeds erratically. The first three of 14 volumes to appear were numbers 1, 6, and 7, The Poems, Prefaces and Introductions, and Letters to the New Island (all in 1989). The latter two were published, inexplicably, as parts of a Collected Edition of the Works. Then came vols. 12 and 5: John Sherman and Dhoya (1992) and Later Essays (1994). The hopscotch manner of publication continued in the following years; three volumes are still unpublished, and there is no indication when the series will be completed. The problems were compounded by several changes of volume editors and by the recent deaths of Richard J. Finneran and George Mills Harper, the founding editors of the project.
The regrettable state of affairs does not, however, extend to the scholarly value of the individual volumes. This is especially true of Early Essays, jointly edited by Richard J. Finneran and George Bornstein, another respected Yeats scholar, editor, and expert on textual criticism. They offer a clear text and a number of important variants and restore some passages, which Yeats excised when he revised the essays. They also provide a lengthy textual introduction and 150 pages of very helpful explanatory notes. The value of this publication is greatly increased by the fact that Early Essays represents the first critical edition of a number of key texts in the Yeats canon. It comprises the collections Ideas of Good and Evil (1903) and The Cutting of an Agate (1912, expanded 1919); they were later revised and included in Essays (1924). These collections amount to 49 essays, which Yeats wrote between 1895 and 1916 and which he considered important enough to be preserved for future readers. They constitute all of the critical prose for which he wished to be remembered as an early 20th-century writer and thinker in the symbolist and romantic tradition, but also as an influential and original Irish poet-critic. At the same time they serve as a guide to some of the literary masters, past and contemporary, who shaped his imaginative writing: Spenser, Shakespeare, Blake, Shelley, Morris, Synge, Lady Gregory, the playwrights of the Japanese No¯ theatre, and others.
|Ausgabe / Jahr:||2 / 2008|
Seiten 455 - 457
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