A Nobel-Prize-winning poet, an accomplished dramatist, a founder of Ireland's Abbey Theatre, a senator in the Irish Free State, a nationalist supporter of Irish independence and a critic of nationalist violence, W.B. Yeats was a complex thinker whose verse changed markedly as he grew: from his early love poetry and Celtic-inspired plays to his late meditations on beauty, art, old age, and death. Yet, even as his themes changed, one constant remained - the images of mountains, glens, impossibly green fields, seascapes, and lake isles from his boyhood in Sligo, that small town on the rocky west cost of Ireland where we will go to study his poems and plays.
During this three week, 3-credit course, students will first complete online a brief but intensive introduction to Yeats's life and works. They will then travel to Sligo, Ireland to study at the Yeats International Summer School, where they will attend lectures and seminars conducted by the world's foremost authorities on Yeats. In previous years, speakers have included Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland, as well as professors from Oxford, Cambridge, Trinity College (Dublin), Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, and other top schools from around the globe.
For English majors, the course can count for Major Authors, Post-1700 British, or as a 300-level elective.
Students will have the opportunity to visit Dublin and Galway, but the majority of our time will be spent in the town of Sligo. Nestled between the mountains of Knocknarea and Ben Bulben, flanked by, on the east, the waters of Lough Gill and, on the west, the Atlantic, this charming Irish village is the ideal place to study Yeats. Walking to a morning lecture, a student might gaze toward the horizon to find, in Yeats's words, 'the wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knocknarea'; during the afternoon break he or she might hike about 'Where the wandering water gushes / From the hills above Glen - Car'; and in the evening, with fiddle music emanating from the pubs, the student will certainly not need to look far to discover people, 'Weaving olden dances, / Mingling hands and mingling glances / Till the moon has taken flight.' There is, indeed, no other place that compares to Sligo for learning about Yeats's poetry.