WB Yeats/Olivia Shakespear letters on display

We are delighted to announce that a selection of the newly acquired letters between William Butler Yeats and his first lover and close friend, the English writer Olivia Shakespear, are now on display in our main hall.

Acquired by the National Library from our annual allocation from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in December 2018, the letters span 40 years of intimacy. Olivia Shakespear was Yeats' first lover, and although their physical affair did not last long, it deepened into a cherished friendship that lasted the rest of their lives.

The letters include detailed discussion of some of Yeats' most important literary works and critiques of Shakespear’s own writing. The letters also explore their shared fascination with the occult, reflect on their long friendship, provide insight on the violence and instability of life in Ireland during the revolutionary period and share the details of their families and social circles through the decades.

This selection of letters will be on display until the end of February, and the world of WB Yeats can be explored further in our award-winning exhibition "Yeats: The Life and Work of William Butler Yeats", 7 days a week.

 
Main Entrance, Kildare St.
Main Entrance, Kildare St.
Quick Links