The Land of Heart's Desire

The Land of Heart's Desire

Manuscript Materials
Edited by Jared Curtis

The Land of Heart's Desire, staged at the Avenue Theatre in London in 1894, marks W. B. Yeats's first use of Irish folklore in a play produced in the commercial theater, with important consequences for his career as a dramatist. This book includes transcriptions and photographs of the surviving holograph manuscripts of the play, reproductions of Yeats's own notes and revisions, and other materials related to stage productions and the resulting changes he made to the text.

After Maud Gonne refused his offer of marriage in the summer of 1893, Yeats coped with his disappointment by burying himself in work. He composed a number of poems based on Irish folklore that would not see publication until 1899 and took steps to shape a literary renaissance in Ireland. In many of the pieces he wrote at this time, he developed the idea, sustained and refined throughout his life, that folklore was the foundation of a living mythology.