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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Poet's writings go under hammer
WB Yeats was one of Ireland's foremost poets
Letters and an essay by one of Ireland's greatest poets, William Butler Yeats, have fetched 72,000 at auction.

The collection, which included a working manuscript of Tragic Theatre, written in 1910, were auctioned at the Sotheby's sale in London on Tuesday.

The collection was mounted in an album by Sir Sydney Cockerell, a friend of Yeats and book collector.

It includes 18 letters signed by Yeats to Sir Sydney.

The letters date from 1902 to 1932 and include discussions of his own work as well as other art and literature.

In a missive from 1917 he reacts modestly to congratulations on the award of the Nobel prize.

"I know that this honour is given less to me than to Irish literature & tradition & I am glad that this should be so. People here are grateful to me for winning them this recognition & life is pleasant..."

Yeats, who was born in Dublin, is a key figure in Irish literature, winning the Nobel prize for his plays and now recognised for his later poetry.

Educated both in England and Ireland, as a young man he was part of the London literary crowd at the turn of the century while also attempting to revive the tradition of literature in his homeland.

Yeats was an Irish patriot but often railed against the hatred and bigotry of some nationalists. He was appointed to the Irish Senate in 1922.

His volumes of poetry including The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921) and The Tower (1928). He died in 1939.

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