W. B. Yeats: A Life: Volume I, The Apprentice Mage, 1865-1914

by R. F. Foster

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Is there an essay titled "The Celtic Twilight" written by W.B. Yeats discussing his own poetry?

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While I am unable to find an essay entitled "The Celtic Twilight" written by Yeats or one of his contemporaries, I do find an essay written by Thomas McLean of John Paul College, Rotorua, called "The Celtic Twilight"; it is four pages and it tied for third place in New Zealand's 2010 Rodney Walshe Ireland Essay Competition. In this essay, which starts out, "'Celtic Twilight' is one of the most evocative phrases I can imagine," McLean describes how the title of a collection of Yeats' short stories called "The Celtic Twilight" has become the beacon representing what McLean calls the "re-imagining, re-evaluation, revival and re-creation of traditional Irish literature and poetry" that occurred in the Celtic Revival, also called the Irish Literary Revival.

McLean explains that in 1890, when Parnell was forced to resign form political office over immoral behavior, Yeats and others fought the despair resulting from home rule being turned aside as a consequence of Parnell's impropriety by turning to precipitating an Irish literary revival as a means to pull Ireland out of their despair. He goes on to describe what has come to be called the Celtic Twilight--these writers and their political ideals--and to detail the development of their movement. The essay can be accessed through the links in and with this answer.

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