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Yeats in Love

‘A woman won or a woman lost’

Jan 31, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 19 • By MICHAEL DIRDA
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Above all, as Hassett makes clear, and as any reader knows, Yeats was a great poet of praise: He celebrated the muses in his life, and not just because each allowed him access to otherworldly knowledge and power. As Hassett repeatedly shows, the women Yeats loved were strong, independent, and accomplished. Some he slept with, some he didn’t. He once asked himself: Does the imagination dwell the most / Upon a woman won or woman lost?

In many ways, Yeats’s collected poems are his never-ending exploration of just that haunting question.

Michael Dirda is the author, most recently, of Classics for Pleasure.

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