The Tower (1928)
Edited by Richard J. Finneran, Jared Curtis, Ann Saddlemyer
W. B. Yeats's The Tower, first published in 1928 and later revised a number of times, arrived in its final form after many years of dedicated labor. Yeats here is concerned with the "rooting of mythology in the earth," binding almost every poem to the image of Thoor Ballylee, the building in the west of Ireland that he saw as a permanent symbol of his work. Still considered one of the seminal volumes of modern poetry, its themes are both intensely personal and determinedly universal: old age and its attendant problems, the relationship between Nature and Art, the natural and the supernatural or spiritual, the self and the world.
In her unsigned review of the collection, Virginia Woolf was to declare, "Mr Yeats has never written more exactly and more passionately." Yet the poet was never satisfied, and in this volume we can trace the alterations, some subtle and others startling, of the hard-earned technique resulting in such major works as "Sailing to Byzantium," "Among School Children," "Leda and the Swan," and "Meditations in Time of Civil War."
In the Cornell Yeats edition of The Tower, materials presented include transcriptions and photographs of the earliest recoverable drafts and selected transcriptions from the most interesting manuscripts and annotated typescripts. Collations of closely related materials, including printed readings preceding the 1928 volume, are attached to transcriptions of the texts to which they lead or from which they stem. Appendixes reveal the different ordering of titles in The Tower that Yeats provided both before and after 1928.