W.B. Yeats and the Arts

Date: August 26 – 27, 2011
Venue: Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway

W. B. Yeats’s poetry, prose and drama repeatedly address and incorporate music, dance and visual art. But Yeats was not only a writer; he was also a cultural entrepreneur. He changed Irish public life by helping to found institutions such as Dublin’s Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the Abbey Theatre and the Abbey School of Ballet. In collaboration with his sisters, Lilly and Lolly, he set up a printing press as a forum for Irish book design. Together with his wife, George, he renovated the tower at Ballylee using local craftsmen. He took to the concert platform and later the airwaves to promote poetry spoken with music. Moreover, as a theatre director, journalist, public speaker and politician, he inspired numerous other cultural productions in Ireland and beyond.

This two-day symposium will introduce research on many aspects of Yeats’s interactions with the arts. Presented by ECHO, NUI Galway’s Humanities Research Forum, funded by the NUI Galway Millennium Fund and forming part of the international research project ‘1916 and After’, it will offer a forum for discussing different historical, methodological and theoretical approaches, crossing disciplines to bring together critics of literature and drama, musicologists, and historians of dance and the visual arts. As well as addressing key issues within Yeats’s work, the symposium will look to wider debates in Irish studies, and cultural history and theory. It will considers questions about the value and relationship of the arts, Ireland’s role in European modernism, the links between late-Victorian and modernist culture, and the interaction between aesthetics and politics.

There will be panels on Yeats and music, dance, drama, the book and the visual arts. Distinguished speakers will include: Nicholas Allen, Brian Arkins, Lauren Arrington, Richard Rupert Arrowsmith, Nicola Gordon Bowe, Karen Brown, Terence Brown, Warwick Gould, Margaret Mills Harper, Sue Jones, Stoddard Martin, Emilie Morin, Deirdre Mulrooney, Éimear O’Connor, Aidan Thomson and Deirdre Toomey. There will also be an evening’s entertainment of Yeatsian and Joycean songs.

The two-day symposium is free to all from NUI Galway or €50 (€40) otherwise. All are very welcome. Proceedings begin at 12 noon on Friday 26th August.