W. B. Yeats Celebrated at Europe House in Sofia

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05:05ч / 05.06.2015г
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June 13 is the 150th birthday of William Butler Yeats, winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature. Perseus Publishing House (Bulgaria) marked this jubilee by launching the Bulgarian-language translation of W. B. Yeats’s book John Sherman and Dhoya containing two works of prose. The presentation of the book was held in Sofia’s Europe House. The Ambassador of Ireland to Bulgaria H. E. Mr. John Biggar reminded that W. B. Yeats was the first Nobel Prize winner for Literature who was born in his country, the other three being George Bernard Shaw (1925), Samuel Beckett (1969) and Seamus Heaney (1995). A little later Ambassador Biggar read an excerpt of Yeats’s John Sherman in the original language. The publisher Plamen Totev, who is a literary critic, found the most suitable way to present the book. He didn’t indulge in a literary analysis of the two works but chose instead to mark the most important moments of the author’s life which have been reflected intimately in his writings. In this way the link between the writer and his works was highlighted more clearly. On the other hand, Totev shared some curious details of the author’s biography that rarely find place in literature textbooks. Just one example – W. B. Yeats had a long passionate love for the beautiful Maud Gonne and proposed to her six times in the course of 25 years. She never became his wife but remained his friend. Years later, her son, born from a short-lived marriage with Major John MacBride, was the initiator of the repatriation of W. B. Yeats’s mortal remains from Menton, France, where he died and was buried in 1939. Maud Gonne’s son was Sean MacBride, also a Nobel laureate like W. B. Yeats. His prize was not for Literature, however, but for Peace. An all-consuming love and strange intertwinings of human fates can be found both in W. B. Yeats’s life and his works of prose which have appeared in Bulgarian for the first time thanks to Perseus Publishing House. They fill a void for the Bulgarian reading public which has known so far only the verses of the Nobel laureate (some of them were translated in 1990 by Prof. Vladimir Trendafilov, a leading academic and literary critic). We ought to congratulate Emil Minchev, too, for the talented rendition of W. B. Yeats’s prose.

You can see more pictures of the presentation at the Europe House here:

You can read about Prof. Trendafilov’s recently published book on Dickens’s reception in Bulgaria here: