William Butler YeatsPoet / Playwright
Born: 13 June 1865
Died: 28 January 1939
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Best known as: Irish poet and playwright
William Butler Yeats was a towering figure in English literature at the turn of the 20th Century, not the least because of his poems and plays. Combining an immense knowledge of Irish folklore and Gaelic verse with a self-conscious flamboyance, Yeats was largely responsible for convincing the rest of the world that those Irish guys sure can write, and that they have a heck of a national identity as well. He was elected one of the first senators of the Irish Free State (1922-28), and awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923.
Extra credit: An occultist, Yeats devised his literary theories based on what he believed to be supernatural communications through his wife, Georgie Lees.
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