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The InteLex electronic edition of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats includes all of the known letters of the great Irish poet, dramatist and statesman. Most appear here for the first time.
The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats decisively changes the landscape not only of Yeats scholarship, but of the study of twentiethth century English literature and history. Yeats was a central figure across and beyond the arts in England and Ireland for a period of fifty years. His interests and acquaintances serve to define the era.
In the ongoing print edition of The Collected Letters published by Oxford University Press, three of the projected twelve to fifteen volumes have been issued. The remaining volumes of the edition will be published in print over the next decade.
The InteLex electronic edition of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats contains, complete, the three volumes of The Collected Letters which have appeared in print.
In addition, the collection includes all of the letters from the remaining eleven (unpublished) volumes, with dating information (so far as this is known), but lacking the full annotation for which the printed volumes are justly famous. Scholars will therefore have immediate access to the primary texts of the complete edition even while the final editing and annotation for the greater part of it remains in progress.
Yeats, W. B. The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats. Edited by John Kelly, Eric Domville, Warwick Gould, Ronald Schuchard, Deirdre Toomey et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986-.
A total of 7,378 new letters are featured in the database. Of these, 88 are newly discovered letters belonging to the 1865-1904 period covered by the three published volumes. The remaining 7,290 letters belong to the 1905-1939 period which will be published in print and with full annotation in future volumes of the edition.
Particular note should be made of the fact that the unannotated letters have not received final vetting (which will occur only as they are annotated prior to print publication) and are therefore published here in beta form. Some errors of transcription and of dating may therefore remain within this beta group of letters (although many seemingly obvious errors are in fact Yeats' own sometimes bizarre spelling).
As new volumes of the annotated letters are issued by Oxford University Press in print, they will be added to the electronic edition at a year's remove from their appearance in book form. At the same time, any newly discovered letters will be added to the electronic edition and corrections and additions made, both for the existing printed volumes and for the beta group of remaining unannotated letters.
In this way, upgrades to the database will be made at regular intervals until all the annotated volumes are available, both in print and in electronic form. At the same time, these regular upgrades to the database will continue to augment the existing print volumes with new letters as they are discovered and with new information as it is gained.
In this first appearance of the database, the 88 recently discovered letters belonging to the 1865-1904 period (covered by the three volumes in print) have been added in their proper sequence with their annotation. References (which are supplied for every paragraph of the electronic edition where a printed parallel source exists) are made in the case of these additions to the page where such a letter would have appeared in the printed volume. For example, a letter added in a chronological sequence beginning in the printed edition at page 149 of Volume 2, would have the following reference line in the electronic edition: "This letter would have appeared in II.149."
The general editor of the edition is John Kelly, St John's College, Oxford. Volume one is co-edited with Kelly by Eric Domville, University of Toronto. Volume two is co-edited with Kelly by Warwick Gould, University of London and Deirdre Toomey, Research Editor of Yeats Annual. Volume three is co-edited with Kelly by Ronald Schuchard, Emory University.
Magnificent. . . . The detail is immense and spot on, so that the footnotes read as a continuous, densely peopled, unfailingly informative documentary on the life and times of the sedulous correspondent... the start of an edition that is going to be one of the great publishing events of the decade.