William Butler Yeats Essays and Criticism

Essays and Criticism

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

The question that I wish to explore in this paper is a threefold one and might be expressed thus: (1) Why is comedy so largely lacking in what one might describe as classic autobiography? (2) Why, on the other hand, is comedy so prominent (as I believe it to be) in Yeats’s Autobiographies? (3) What is the nature, and what are the motives, of comedy when it does occur in autobiography? And as a sort of fourth fold completing this threefold question I want to pose a paradox: that though there are not many humorous passages in classic autobiography yet this type, like all varieties of autobiography, might be said to be essentially and in its very nature of the comic mode.

I will begin with a definition of classic...

(The entire section is 5177 words.)