October 16th, 2003

breaking bad

lack all conviction

I am wondering whether to buy the two-volume biography of Yeats by RF Foster 'The Apprentice Mage' and 'The Arch Poet' . I've never really shelled out that much for a couple of books before.

I read an excellent review of the second volume in the Observer on Sunday.

He had at once a passionate intensity and a wish for a passionate intensity. In the second half of his life he had to work out whether this conflict that pervaded, as Foster shows, every area of his life - the erotic, the intellectual, the political - revealed a debilitating timidity or an unusual courage.

Here is a quote which I ended up thinking about a lot.

Yeats, Foster writes, 'was prepared ruthlessly to search out themes in unlikely places, and work up his own poetic energies through a willing suspension of incredulity. He infused himself with creative power through bizarre transactions.'
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