Rotten Rejections: William Butler Yeats

“I am relieved to find the critics shrink from saying that Mr. Yeats will ever be a popular author. I should really at last despair of mankind, if he could be…absolutely empty and void. The work does not please the ear, nor kindle the imagination, nor hint a thought for one’s reflection… Do what I will, I can see no sense in the thing: it is to me sheer nonsense. I do not say it is obscure, or uncouth or barbaric or affected–tho’ it is all these evil things; I say it is to me absolute nullity…I would not read a page of it again for worlds.

That he has any real paying audience I find hard to believe.”

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

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