The Edition de Luxe and the Scribner Edition

  • Richard J. Finneran


By 1926 Yeats’s works had already been issued in two collected editions: the eight volumes of the sumptuous Collected Works in Verse & Prose published by the Shakespeare Head Press in 1908; and the more mundane series of six volumes published by Macmillan over a period of five years (Later Poems, 1922; Plays in Prose and Verse, 1922; Plays and Controversies, 1923; Essays, 1924; Early Poems and Stories, 1925; Autobiographies, 1926). The latter series, though, was rather a putative collected edition. The title “The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats” appears only in the final two instalments — and only at the end of each volume. And of course the set was incomplete, the most notable exclusion being the 1925 A Vision.


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  1. 1.
    Charles Morgan, The House of Macmillan (1843–1943) (London: Macmillan, 1943) p. 226. The Hardy edition was published in 1921–22.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Louise Morgan, Writers at Work (London: Chatto and Windus, 1931) pp. 8–9. The British Library copy of the volume was received on 16 September 1931.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Likewise, the page proofs of Mythologies and The Irish Dramatic Movement were produced between 30 September and 26 October 1931 but not sent to Yeats until the following year. See The Secret Rose, Stories by W. B. Yeats: A Variorum Edition, ed. Phillip L. Marcus, Warwick Gould, and Michael J. Sidnell (Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 1981) pp. xix–xx.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    In the autumn of 1930 Yeats was planning to bring out a volume first called The Winding Stair and later Byzantium. The contents would have included the lyrics from The Winding Stair (New York: Fountain Press, [1929]) as well as some new work, including the poem “Byzantium”. See W. B. Yeats and T. Sturge Moore: Their Correspondence, 1901–1937, ed. Ursula Bridge (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953) pp. 163–66. But on 5 January 1931 Yeats wrote Moore that “there will be delay over Byzantium. Macmillan proposes to bring out an edition de luxe of all my works, including it, before the edition with your cover comes out. This will follow after one month” (p. 166) On the 12 September 1931 galley proofs of the Edition de Luxe, the final section is headed “Byzantium and Other Poems (1929)”; Yeats revised this to “The Winding Stair, 1929, and Other Poems”.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    The following account provides considerably more detail about the Scribner Edition than Edward Callan’s Yeats on Yeats: The Last Introductions and the “Dublin” Edition, New Yeats Papers 20 (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1981) esp. pp. 87–103. Callan did not have access to the Scribner Archive at the University of Texas.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    David R. Clark, “On the Canon and Order of Yeats’s Plays”, forthcoming in Yeats. As we shall see in more detail in Chapter 7, it is quite unlikely that Yeats realised Macmillan was intending to reject the order of the poems in the Collected Poems and preserve the earlier arrangement of the Edition de Luxe proofs. There is no difference between the lists for volume VII, which contained A Vision, except that by 1937 Yeats had abandoned the title “Discoveries”. On the Scribner list for volume V (Essays), Yeats has included the Introductions to the four plays in Wheels and Butterflies (London: Macmillan, 1934; New York: Macmillan, 1935) as well as the “Commentary on ‘A Parnellite at Parnell’s Funeral’” from The King of the Great Clock Tower: Commentaries and Poems (Dublin: Cuala Press, 1934; New York: Macmillan, 1935); these items are not specifically mentioned on the Macmillan list. For volume VI (Autobiographies) Yeats has specified an arrangement in order of publication for the Scribner Edition, whereas on the Macmillan list he agreed to the suggestion that Dramatis Personae precede Estrangement, placing the volumes in order of the years covered in each. But even this “divergence” was rectified on the later list for Scribner’s.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    Wheelock refers to what were eventually published in Essays and Introductions (London: Macmillan, 1961) as the “Introduction” to the volume and as “A General Introduction for my Work” and “An Introduction to my Plays” (pp. vii–xi, 509–26, 527–30). There was rather continual confusion as to the number of essays which Yeats had written, but a Scribner list of the materials, dated 27 February 1939, makes it clear that Yeats had submitted only three essays.Google Scholar
  8. 29.
    Morton Dauwen Zabel, “The Thinking of the Body: Yeats in the Autobiographies”, Southern Review, 7 no. 3 (Winter 1941) 562–90. Zabel acknowledged his access to this material (p. 564, n. 1).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard J. Finneran 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Finneran
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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