Digital Exhibits - UWM Libraries Special Collections
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A Vision of Yeats

"A Vision of Yeats," was created by the Special Collections Department in association with the international conference, Re-Visioning Yeats, held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Golda Meir Library October 3-4, 1996. The exhibit highlights two defining characteristics of W. B. Yeats’s long career: his interest in mysticism and his close relationships to other writers, poets, artists, and playwrights. The exhibition contains primarily books, journals, letters, and manuscripts, drawn from the Golda Meir Library’s Special Collections and Archives.

Irish literary studies has long been a focus of research and teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Golda Meir Library's special and general collections of contemporary and historical Irish authors strongly reflect this concentration. "A Vision of Yeats" provides an opportunity to showcase the library's special research holdings relating to the Irish literary renaissance of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with Yeats as its central figure.

The exhibition is divided into three sections. The first section of the exhibit focuses on Yeats' literary influences, specifically William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and how their work influenced Yeats and his emerging philosophies. The second section focuses on Yeats's intense interest in Celtic myth, the occult, and mysticism and how these ideas intersected to form Yeats' ideas about a Celtic Mystical Order. The third section focuses on the intersecting literary circles through which Yeats moved, featuring the Dun Emer and Cuala presses; the Rhymers' Club, the Irish Literary Theater, the dual literary personas of William Sharp/Fiona Macleod, and the search, by Yeats and his contemporaries, for a unique Irish identity.