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Yeats in Europe

Yeats in Europe

This is the homepage of the two-day symposium on W.B Yeats, Yeats in Europe, Utrecht University, 19th-20th June 2015. Information: yeatsineurope@gmail.com.

Please register in advance by sending an email to the above-mentioned address.

The Symposium will take place in the Kanunnikenzaal, at the Academiegebouw, Universiteit Utrecht, Domplein 29, 3512 JE Utrecht, Netherlands.


June 2015 sees the 150th anniversary of Yeats’s birth, and, by way of celebration, and in recognition of his towering achievements, Universiteit Utrecht, with the generous support of the Embassy of Ireland in the Netherlands, is hosting a two day symposium, entitled ‘Yeats in Europe’.

Though Yeats spent most of his life in the British Isles, he never fell victim to insularity, but, rather, sought to maintain strong connections with Europe. These links were especially strong in the later stages of his life, when, troubled by chronic bronchial ailments, he flourished in the continent’s warmer Mediterranean climate, before, finally, giving up his ghost in Cap Martin, near Monaco, in January 1939:  a ‘dark cold day’, when, as Auden imagined it,  ‘brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted, / And snow disfigured the public statues’.

Earlier in his career, as he celebrated Irish places, and revitalised Ireland’s Celtic heritage, Yeats was aware, nevertheless, that such myths and legends co-existed with and perhaps even grew out of other European traditions; on the one hand, the classical literatures of Greece and Rome, which gave rise to Helen of Troy and the Roman Caesars and, on the other, the occult traditions of Northern Europe, exemplified by Boehme, Swedenborg, and Blake.

Yet complementing those astonishing conjunctions, the unexpected but exquisitely managed textures and sound effects of Yeats’s verse also announced something decisively new and international: his work was the point of intersection between a powerful cohort of late nineteenth-century French poets – Verlaine, Mallarme – and, immediately following them, a generation of Anglo-American writers – Eliot and Pound – who had pitched their mansions in the passions and terrors of early twentieth-century Europe.

The renowned Yeats scholar, the late Professor A. Norman Jeffares, observed:

‘Completely Irish, [Yeats] fought throughout his life to give his country’s literature a European poise. He found much of his inspiration in the complex interlinked legacy of tradition and thought, of literature and art, that is every European’s heritage.’

It is the mien and richness of that heritage which this symposium seeks to meet and to trace; ‘the lineaments of a plummet-measured face’. (WBY, ‘The Statues’).

The organizers should like to thank the support of the Embassy of Ireland, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Universiteit Utrecht, without which this symposium could never have taken place.

David Pascoe / Roselinde Supheert / Peter de Voogd



The Symposium will take place in the Kanunnikenzaal, at the Academiegebouw, Universiteit Utrecht, Domplein 29, 3512 JE  Utrecht.


Friday 19th June

1300-1330: Welcome & Preambles

Ambassador John Neary

(Ambassador of Ireland to the Kingdom of the Netherlands)


1330-1515:  Paper Session 1 (Chair: Onno Kosters)


Professor Joep Leerssen (Universiteit van Amsterdam),

‘Yeats, Paudeen and the indomitable Irishry: National Vacillations’


Dr Lucy Collins (University College, Dublin)

‘W.B. Yeats and the Printing of Irish Poetry’


Professor David Pascoe (Universiteit Utrecht)

‘”The Wrong Side of the Road”: Yeats’s Declarations of the Great War’


1515-1530:  Tea Interval


1530-1615:  Keynote Lecture

Professor Matt Campbell (University of York)

‘Yeats and the Epiphanists’


1630-1730: Drinks & Refreshments


1730-1830: Theatre Session

Cathleen Ní Houlihan by SUDS [Students of Utrecht Drama Society]


1900:  Dinner (Speakers only)

‘Lokaal Negen’, Trans 7, 3512JJ Utrecht


Saturday 20 June


1300-14.30:  Paper Session 2 (Chair: Peter de Voogd)


Professor Peter Liebregts (Universiteit Leiden)

‘”Measurement began our might”: W.B. Yeats on Ireland and the Arts in his Last Poems


Dr David Wheatley (University of Aberdeen)

‘”Let us now make sure we have got it right”: The Return to Yeats in Later Beckett’


Senator Susan O’Keeffe (Chair, Yeats 2015)

‘Reconnecting Yeats in the Twenty-First Century’


1430-1500:  Tea Interval


1500-1600:  Round Table Session

Onno Kosters, Peter Liebregts, Roselinde Supheert, Peter de Voogd

‘Yeats in Translation’


1600-1645:  Keynote Lecture 2

Professor Meg Harper (University of Limerick)

‘Yeats and the Rhythm of A Vision


1645:  Closing Words

1715: Book Launch and Farewell Drinks / Het Literatuurhuis, Oudegracht 237, 3511 NK Utrecht

Utrecht Dichtersgilde | Uitgeverij IJzer: Terrible beauty | Barre schoonheid: Het Utrechts Stadsdichtersgilde ontmoet W.B. Yeats, ed. Onno Kosters en Peter Drehmanns