The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

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Critical Overview

(Poetry for Students)

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is one of Yeats’s earlier poems and also one of his best known. It is perhaps so widely known due to its universal subject matter, that of the conflict between youth and aging, and the longing for emotional escape. Author William York Tindall, in his book W. B. Yeats, terms “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” “a vision of escape.” However, some find the poem overly sentimental and prefer Yeats’s later poems. F. R. Leavis, in his book New Bearings in English Poetry: A Study of the Contemporary Situation, cites a statement by Yeats regarding his early poetry:

I tried after the publication of The Wanderings of Oisin to write of nothing but emotion,...

(The entire section is 240 words.)