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WB Yeats Nobel Centenary Celebration

100 years since the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Friday, 13 October 2023
Yeats 100 Graphic

2023 marks the centenary of the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to WB Yeats "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation".

To celebrate his remarkable achievement the National Library is engaged in two major collaborations. A series of lectures will be presented as a partner in a programme with the Yeats Society, and supported by funding from DTCAGSM. The second project is a video series collaboration with Seanad Éireann to reflect Yeats’ literary and political achievements.

NLI Yeats 100 Lecture Series:

The following Yeats Nobel Centenary Lectures series runs from November to December 2023 and  all are available to watch online via Zoom:

Online talk | WB Yeats’ India: Revisiting Yeats’ engagements with interlocutors from the subcontinent

Tuesday, 17 October, 5.30pm

Speaker: Dr Ragini Mohite, Assistant Professor, FLAME University, India

  • While William Butler Yeats never visited India, it remained for him a place of creative and spiritual interest, one he experienced through the lens of his various interlocutors at different points in his lifetime: Mohini Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore, and lastly, Shri Purohit Swãmi .
  • In this free online talk, Dr Ragini Mohite explores Yeats’ idea of India. In the centenary year of Yeats’ Nobel Prize, discover his relationship with fellow Nobel winner Rabindranath Tagore and look through some of Yeats’ India-related works


Online talk | Yeats and Yoga: the invention of global English Literature 

Tuesday, 14 November, 7pm

Speaker: Professor Barry Sheils, Durham University, UK

  • This lecture will explore WB Yeats’ late and fruitful collaboration with the Indian mystic Shri Purohit Swãmi. This collaboration produced four major works. Two were memoirs: the story of Shri Purohit’s life in India, An Indian Monk: His Life and Adventures (1932); and then an account of a religious pilgrimage, The Holy Mountain: Being the story of a Pilgrimage to Lake Mãnas ad of Initiation on Mount Kailās in Tibet (1934). Two were mystical texts from the Hindu tradition: The Ten Principal Upanishads (1937) and The Aphorisms of Yoga (1938).
  • Yeats provided extended introductions for all four works. Yeats used this collaboration with Shri Purohit to develop the devices and styles of a truly global English-language literature. Professor Barry Sheils examines these devices and styles, which continue today to express important cultural dilemmas. 


Online talk | Yeats Our Contemporary

Tuesday, 28 November, 7pm

Speaker: Professor Geraldine Higgins, Emory University, Atlanta, USA

  • In 1923 when WB Yeats was awarded the Nobel prize for “his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation,” he could not have known that 100 years later, his reach would be not just national, but global.
  • Yeats has always enjoyed a high profile in Ireland, but in recent years, he has become one of the world’s most quotable poets, and with 'The Second Coming,' its most terrifying prophet. In this lecture, Geraldine Higgins will discuss the enduring significance of Yeats in global culture in our multi-media lives.

Panel Discussion | Yeats' Nobel: Then & Now

Saturday, 9 December, 4pm | Online via Livestream and in-person

Speaker: Professor Margaret Kelleher, Joseph Hassett and Paula Meehan

  • Join Professor Margaret Kelleher, Chair of Anglo-Irish  Literature and Drama UCD, for a discussion with Yeats scholar and author Joseph Hassett and Poet and Dramatist Paula Meehan about the award of the prize and the continuing echo of Yeats’s poetry into daily life.
  • This event is organised as part of the programme to mark the Centenary of the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded to WB Yeats in 1923.The programme is funded by Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and organised in partnership with the Yeats Society Sligo.
Yeats Nobel Centenary Video Series

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) and  Seanad Éireann have launched a video series to mark 100 years since the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to WB Yeats. The poet and dramatist, who was a member of Seanad Éireann from 1922 to 1928, received notice of the award on November 14th 1923. 

A collaboration between Seanad Éireann and the NLI, the ‘Yeats Nobel Centenary’ series is a collection of 12 short videos featuring readings of a selection of Yeats’ poems and excerpts from his Seanad speeches.

Click here for more information.

Watch the YouTube playlist of videos by clicking on the image below: