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"The Many Worlds of W.B. Yeats"                                   

Jim Flannery '61 M.F.A.

Wednesdays, March 7 - April 11, 7:00 - 8:30pm                           $395

Location: All Saints Episcopal Church, 634 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta

 

Course Description: 

Arguably the greatest poet of the modern age, W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) lived an extraordinarily rich and productive life as the founder and guiding light of the Irish Literary Revival and the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland, a nationalist whose writing and leadership inspired the Irish struggle for independence and an influential member of the Senate established in 1922 when Ireland won her freedom after 700 years of foreign rule. Yeats was also a folklorist, mythologist and lifelong student of Eastern and Western religion as well as the occult mysteries. All of these interests found an outlet in Yeats's accomplishment as a poet, dramatist and cultural activist.

Modern Ireland, which today is recognized internationally for its remarkable achievements in literature, drama, music and film, owes an enormous debt to Yeats.  As Seamus Heaney said, "In Yeats's work was the beginning of confidence in our own ground, in our own place, in our own speech, English or Irish."

T.S. Eliot thought of Yeats as essential to a full understanding of the modern world: "W.B. Yeats is one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them."

This six-week seminar organized under the auspices of the Yale Alumni College - Atlanta will focus on a series of key themes in the life and work of Yeats. Each of the sessions will involve a discussion of assigned selections from the poetry, plays and prose writings of Yeats as well as a close analysis of one or more particularly representative works. In keeping with the highly oral and performative dimension of Yeats and Irish culture in general, a special emphasis will be placed on reading aloud and sharing together the artistry of Yeats.

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Syllabus: TBD

Week 1- March 7:

Week 2- March 14:

Week 3- March 21:

Week 4- March 28:

Week 5- April 4:

Week 6- April 11:

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Professor Jim Flannery Bio

A producer, stage director, singer, scholar and teacher, James Flannery has an international reputation as a specialist in the dramatic work of the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats. His book, W.B.Yeats and the Idea of a Theatre: The Early Abbey Theatre in Theory and Practice (Yale 1976, 1989) is considered the definitive study of Yeats's aesthetic of and practical work in the theater. From 1989 to 1993 he was the Executive Director of a Yeats International Theatre Festival at the world-famous Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland, where his ground-breaking productions of the challenging plays of Yeats won critical acclaim.

Winship Professor Emeritus of the Arts and Humanities at Emory University, Flannery came to Atlanta in 1982 to found the theater program at Emory. In 1989 he founded the W.B. Yeats Foundation, which has produced a regular series of lectures, concerts, poetry readings, symposiums and exhibitions designed to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of Irish culture. For the past several years his Emmy Award-winning Southern Celtic Christmas Concert has been featured as a Christmas special on PBS stations across the country.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College (Hartford), Flannery holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama and a Ph.D. from Trinity College, Dublin. He has served as a Visiting Professor at Trinity College, Dublin and at University College, Dublin as well a Distinguished Fulbright Fellow at the University of Ulster. He has also been named an International Associate Artist at the Abbey Theatre where he has taught classes on the techniques involved in staging Yeats and is working to create a Yeats Performance Laboratory.

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