The book I do not want to read any more of in any iteration:
Yeats: Oh Maud Gonne, I love you, even though you’re so not into me. Oh Maud Gonne, marry me even while you’re out having children with a dude you’re not married to and lying to me about it. Oh Maud Gonne, marry me even though you claim you’re not into marriage while you’re marrying an abusive dude.
Pound: Here I am, secretarying away!
Yeats: Oh, wait, Maud Gonne, I’ve lost my virginity and come to realize it’s your daughter I’m in love with. Yes, the one you claim I am the spiritual father of. That’s not creepy at all!
Mrs. Yeats: Why did I marry you again? Never mind. Here’s some automatic writing that every single author seems to agree was just me telling you what to do in a form you could not refuse. Go do it.
Me: Ugh. I quit.
The book I do want to read:
Yeats and Crowley have a run in. Crowley gets beaten up. We learn how Yeats knew Crowley. We learn what Crowley was up to, what Yeats was up to, and why they were at odds. We find out what was up with the Theosophy movement and why Yeats had falling out with them. We get some insight into how Yeats saw himself and his magical work in relation to Ireland and the rest of Europe. We discover more about what drew George Yeats (his wife) into the occult.
What were they up to and why? How did it tie into and play off of what other people were up to? How long was Yeats publicly involved with these occult groups? Was he any good at it?
I’m sad to say that all of the books I got on Yeats were, in one way or another, just variations of the book up top there, the story of Maud and whether she was a total bitch or he was. Even the one about Yeats’ ghosts is filtered through his very fucked up relationships to women and says very little about his involvement in the occult community except as it pertains to his fucked up relationship to women.
I don’t know if this is just a late 20th-century bias or what, but it’s frustrating. It’s as if that part of Yeats’ life was so strange that people force it to be about women, because that’s less weird? Or silly, maybe?
Oxford’s big two-volume Yeats biography is actually the least bad about this, but it still doesn’t really broaden out to tell me everything I was hoping to at least glean some insight into.
So, I’m a little down about that. I was really hoping that seeing how someone functioned in that kind of organization might give me insight into Ben Allen.