© 1999

The Plays of W. B. Yeats

Yeats and the Dancer


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Sylvia C. Ellis
    Pages 1-85
  3. Sylvia C. Ellis
    Pages 86-153
  4. Sylvia C. Ellis
    Pages 154-246
  5. Sylvia C. Ellis
    Pages 247-353
  6. Sylvia C. Ellis
    Pages 354-356
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 357-372

About this book


This book investigates Yeats's experiments with the media of language and dance in his plays. He was allied to other artists of the 1890s in his fascination with the biblical dancer Salome and in his preoccupation with things Japanese, particularly 'Noh' Theatre with its central dance. The impact of Diaghliev's Ballets Russes also played its part in influencing Yeats's drama, and his interest in the 'dance-as-meaning' debate places him firmly not only in his time but also in our own.


ballet bibliography dance dialogue drama Japan Japanese knowledge language media performance play theatre time William Butler Yeats

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of WalesBangorUK

About the authors

SYLVIA C. ELLIS teaches English at the University of Wales, Bangor, North Wales. She has also taught English literature in Paris and Moscow and English, maths and science in New York. Having travelled widely and studied several languages, she now lives in Bangor and strives to improve her Welsh

Bibliographic information


'Yeats's passionate interest in the figure of the dancer has long fascinated his critics and admirers. Sylvia Ellis brings to the subject particular expertise as an historian of dance, and she takes us in new and unexpected directions. Her book is by far the most comprehensive treatment that we have.' - John Stokes, King's College, University of London

'Admirers of W. B. Yeats and especially his plays for dancers have long known of his interest in dance both as art-form and subject of fin-de-siécle aesthetic debate. But only with Dr Ellis has a scholar emerged willing to undertake the comprehensive research and sustained commitment to explore this intriguing topic fully.' - W. M. Tydeman, University of Wales, Bangor

'...[an] admirable book... it is a clarifying approach to Yeats's plays which gives them theatrical integrity, with no apologetic deference either to his poems or to the naturalistic theatrical tradition. It is an unignorable introduction to Yeats's multi-medium drama.' - Bernard O'Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement