"No one else in the foreseeable future will know as much or work as carefully as Murphy has on one of Ireland's most distinguished families."—George Mills Harper, Florida State University
One of the world’s leading Yeats scholars completes his definitive history, begun with the highly acclaimed Prodigal Father. Family Secrets is the long-awaited sequel following in the earlier book’s tradition of the “right book written by exactly the right man” (Hugh Kenner).
Never before has the public been privy to the story of these lives woven in such intimate detail. Murphy takes us into some of the family’s darkest “secrets:” the strains of emotional instability among the Pollexfen aunts and uncles; interest in mysticism and the occult (about which Yeats wrote considerably); the father’s long platonic relationship with Miss Rosa Butt; the tensions between Lily and Lollie (the “weird sisters”), and Lollie’s difficult, even paranoid personality.
Drawing on correspondence and an extensive number of unpublished letters and materials not hitherto available and more than one hundred photographs and illustrations (many never before published), Family Secrets explores a gallery of characters not often found within the confines of a single family. Their story, which reads like a novel, will not only capture the fancy of general readers but will make a significant contribution to the letters of twentieth-century literature.
William M. Murphy is the Thomas Lamont Research Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature at Union College, Schenectady, New York. He is the author of Prodigal Father: The Life of John Butler Yeats, The Yeats Family and the Pollexfens of Sligo, coeditor of Letters to William Butler Yeats, and editor of Letters from Bedford Park: A Selection from the Correspondence of John Butler Yeats, published in Dublin by The Cuala Press.
Series: Irish Studies
6 x 9, 564 pages, 102 black and white illustrations