'On Baile's Strand'

"On Baile's Strand"

Manuscript Materials

On Baile's Strand, W. B. Yeats's first play based on the Cuchulain legend in the Ulster cycle of Irish myths, features themes of vengeance, free will and fate, personal and dynastic survival, love and loyalty, betrayal and trust, the nature of heroism, the horror of filicide, and the costs of remorse and madness. The mythic tale with which he began has these elements at its core, but Yeats worked and reworked his play over a period of six years before reaching a text that fully satisfied him. In the summer of 1901 he began outlining, and then drafting, what he first called simply "Cuchulain," refining it through several drafts until publication in August 1903, and again, with minor changes, in March 1904.

The play was first produced at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in December 1904. Over the next two years, as he watched it performed in Dublin, London, and at provincial theaters across England, Yeats recognized its shortcomings and began to rewrite it. The completely revised text was first published in October 1906 and remained largely unchanged through its final publication in 1935, Yeats by then feeling that he had made it "technically efficient at last." On Baile’s Strand exists, therefore, in two remarkably different versions, reflected in the organization of this edition of all the surviving manuscript materials of the play, including the manuscripts and typescripts written between 1901 and 1904, and the manuscripts, typescripts, and revised proofs of 1905–1906.

The Cornell Yeats edition presents photographs and transcriptions of the manuscripts, typescripts, and revised proof pages by which we may trace the author’s textual revisions for On Baile’s Strand, leading to its publication in 1903 in a collection of his narrative and lyric poetry titled In the Seven Woods: Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age, the first book printed by his sisters’ Dun Emer Press. The revised text was published in October 1906, in Poems 1899–1905. Appendixes present the text of On Baile’s Strand as it first appeared in In the Seven Woods; manuscripts of a list of cast members of an early production; program notes for the 1906 touring production; stage designs for the Abbey Theatre; Edward Gordon Craig’s drawing of the Fool’s mask and costume, 1911; a note for Plays in Prose and Verse, 1922; and a collation of later revisions, made by Yeats between 1907 and 1939.

Jared Curtis and Declan Kiely preface the text with a census of all the surviving manuscripts of Yeats’s play. An introduction discusses the history of the play’s composition, the evolution of the text, its significant place in Yeats’s development as a dramatist, and its standing among classic tragedies. The arduous process of revision through which the author mastered stagecraft and the art of the tragic theater, learned to present dramatic character and conflict through dialogue and action rather than by narration, and worked to simplify his adaptation of source materials is revealed with fullness and clarity.

W. B. Yeats



"Where There Is Nothing" and "The Unicorn from the Stars"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory
In the Cornell Yeats edition of "Where There Is Nothing" and "The Unicorn from the Stars," Wim Van Mierlo recounts their complicated composition history and makes clear the ways in which the latter diverges from its predecessor.



The Resurrection
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
A documentary edition of Yeats's 1932 play that traces multiple textual revisions.



"At the Hawk's Well" and "The Cat and the Moon"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
Both At the Hawk's Well (1917) and The Cat and the Moon (1924) dramatize their characters' journeys of the soul to magic wells. The Cornell Yeats edition of these plays presents photographs and transcriptions of the typescripts in various revisions.



"The Golden Helmet" and "The Green Helmet"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
Yeats's Helmet plays (The Green Helmet, in verse, and its earlier prose version The Golden Helmet) are part of the author's cycle of plays dealing with the life and death of the legendary Irish hero Cuchulain, first conceived in 1907.



Sophocles' "Oedipus at Colonus"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This edition presents photographs and transcriptions of three revised typescripts of "Oedipus at Colonus" that Yeats prepared and extensively revised over a period of eight-and-a-half months and a reading text based on the first publication of the play.



The Tower (1928)
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
Materials include transcriptions and photographs of the earliest recoverable drafts and selected transcriptions from the most interesting manuscripts and annotated typescripts.



"The King of the Great Clock Tower" and "A Full Moon in March"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This volume of the Cornell Yeats contains manuscript materials for both the prose and verse renditions of "The King of the Great Clock Tower" and all of the drafts that resulted in "A Full Moon in March."



Collaborative One-Act Plays, 1901–1903 ("Cathleen ni Houlihan," "The Pot of Broth," "The Country of the Young," "Heads or Harps")
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory
The four short works collected in this book were among the earliest plays to be authored collaboratively by W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, written during the pivotal years of the "Irish Literary Theatre" experiment of 1899–1901.



The King's Threshold
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The Cornell Yeats edition of this play about a bard's hunger strike includes the preliminary notes and first prose drafts dictated by Yeats to his patron and collaborator, Lady Gregory, in March and April 1903.



Diarmuid and Grania
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats, George Moore
The manuscript materials included in the Cornell Yeats edition of "Diarmuid and Grania" provide a full record of the disputes and revisions that culminated in the final draft of the play, which opened at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on October 21, 1901.



"The Only Jealousy of Emer" and "Fighting the Waves"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
Includes manuscript materials of both "The Only Jealousy of Emer," a turning point in Yeats's career as an artist, and its later (and lesser, according to Yeats) prose version, "Fighting the Waves."



Deirdre
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This edition of the manuscripts of "Deirdre" presents the transcription of work from three substantially different versions of the play through its first performance, together with post-performance revisions.



"The Dreaming of the Bones" and "Calvary"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This book reproduces the complete set of extant manuscripts that preceded publication of both plays. In addition to a perceptive introductory essay, the book includes several appendixes of Yeats's notes and commentaries on the plays.



"Parnell's Funeral and Other Poems" from "A Full Moon in March"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The manuscripts transcribed and reproduced in this volume of the Cornell Yeats were written from spring 1933 through December 1934.



Responsibilities
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The Cornell Yeats edition of the poetry collection, "Responsibilities," features the only surviving example of Ezra Pound and the author collaboratively revising a poem by Yeats.



The Words Upon the Windowpane
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The Cornell Yeats edition of this play contains transcriptions and photographic reproductions of the drafts with variant readings from proofs, typescripts, and notebook entries, as well as other materials pertaining to its writing and performance.



The Land of Heart's Desire
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This edition includes transcriptions and photographs of the surviving 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.



"In the Seven Woods" and "The Green Helmet and Other Poems"
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This volume presents the surviving manuscripts, typescripts, and early printed texts for all of the poems W. B. Yeats included at one time or another in these two two remarkably significant and protean collections.



New Poems
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The materials gathered here reveal the process by which Yeats wrote individual poems, established relations among them, and considered their possible placement in the collection, the last book that Yeats published in his lifetime.



Words for Music Perhaps and Other Poems
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This edition records every draft, from Yeats's first notion to the published version, a majority both in facsimile (in Yeats's fiercely illegible hand) and in faithful transcription on facing pages.



The Countess Cathleen
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The Cornell Yeats edition gives literatim transcriptions and photographic reproductions of all the holographic materials pertaining to the writing, revising, and rewriting of "The Countess Cathleen" from 1889 to 1934.



The Winding Stair (1929)
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The Cornell Yeats edition of "The Winding Stair" brings together transcriptions of all extant manuscript materials for the six poems included in the 1929 volume.



The Wild Swans at Coole
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
The Cornell Yeats edition includes transcriptions of manuscript materials for the poems in both the 1917 and the 1919 edition (the latter with an additional 19 poems), accompanied by a generous number of facsimiles.



The Hour-Glass
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This volume brings together all extant manuscripts of "The Hour-Glass," from a handwritten three-page fragment of the 1902 prose version to Yeats's typescripts of the 1922 verse rendition.



The Early Poetry ("The Wanderings of Oisin" and Other Poems to 1895)
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This is the second of two volumes containing transcriptions and in many cases facsimiles of all surviving manuscripts of the poetry that Yeats had published by 1895, together with the later revisions of that poetry.



Michael Robartes and the Dancer
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
This volume presents all the extant manuscripts for the poems in the collection, which confronted central political, personal, and philosophic issues, that Yeats wrote between 1914 and 1919.



The Herne's Egg
Manuscript Materials
W. B. Yeats
Written during a period of illness in 1935–1936, Yeats's play combines frank sexual content with bizarre imagery from the Indian and tribal Irish traditions. This edition provides a full transcription of the only extant manuscript version of the play.