By Jeffrey Meyers (eds.)
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She would not go out of her way to look for material, she told Michael, but ifshe happened to run across something she would let him have it. Within a few days I was sitting in Michael's living room with a biscuit tin of about two hundred letters written fromjBY to his son. We soon met Anne Yeats, Michael's sister, and she generously turned over to me for xeroxing all the letters in her possession fromjBY to his brother Isaac and his son jack. In the library of Trinity College, Dublin, I found the originals ofjBY's letters to Clare Marsh and devoted about three weeks to transcribing them.
Strong-willed and able, each found a kindred spirit in the other, and before long they were deep in discussions of the difficulties ofwomen trying to make headway in a world of male folly. Michael and I moved into the drawing room, beneath the enormous unfinished self-portrait in oils ofJBY (which appears as the frontispiece in Prodigal Father), with the portrait ofWBY by Mancini on the opposite wall and the original piece oflapis lazuli, on which WBY wrote his poem, on the mantelpiece. Briefly I told Michael who I was and what I wanted to do and presented him with a copy of the little book on David Worcester, my only passport to the nation of writers.
CHAPTER TWO John Butler Yeats WILLIAM M. J une 1978. Two months earlier I had held in my hand the first copy off the press. That was twelve years and one month after I had set offfor Dublin to begin full-time work on the book. When it began I was in my late forties; when the book appeared I was in my early sixties. The entire decade of my fifties was spent full time, except for teaching, in working on the book . How the book came to be written may be a salutary story for my colleagues at colleges and universities throughout the country and to graduate students contemplating careers as scholars.