“The Music of Heaven”: Dorothea Hunter

  • Warwick Gould
Part of the Yeats Annual book series (YA)


Dorothea Hunter (1868–1958) was named for the Gift of God she was to her father, the Revd Henry Walter Blake Butler. She later gave herself to God by the name “Deo Date” when she joined the Order of the Golden Dawn in March 1893. Such papers of hers as have been kept until now are a gift to posterity.1 Although she destroyed the three of Yeats’s letters which survived in her possession until her own old age (there must have been many more), she only did so after she had communicated their contents to Richard Ellmann and thereby to Allan Wade. Only two of them (one misdated, both from the late 1890s) were used by Wade in 1954 (L 264–5, 293–4). Dorothea Hunter was also able to provide the footnote to one of them on the matter (crucial to Yeats in 1898) of Connla’s Well (L 293n.). For a partial text of the third one must turn to The Identity of Yeats.2 Since the story of Dorothea Hunter’s memories begins with her contacts with scholars at the end of her life, it is there that this account of her life necessarily begins.


British Museum Order Book Holy Place Time Literary Supplement Irish Vision 
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Copyright information

© Deirdre Toomey 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warwick Gould

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