It seems that all the world has come to know of Yeats's rejection, his everlasting shame of having loved and not been loved in return.
West has created a curious book about Yeats's relationship, or rather famous obsession, with the great beauty Maude Gonne. We imagine theirs as the love of Yeats's life, but it seems that the whole affair was one sided, a mere figment of Yeats's imagination, no more real that the fairies of the Celtic Twilight, or his journey to Innisfree. He did nothing by halves, and it seems that Yeats's adoration of the elusive Maude was all consuming. Today, we'd call this lover by another name: STALKER!
This is the slant that West takes in this book. It presents a humorous collection of prints, punctuated with quotations by and about Yeats; comments, poetic snippets, that shed some light on Yeats's relationship with Mrs MacBride.
The irony is, that the more West pokes fun at Yeats, the more sympathetic the reader feel towards him; the humour giving way to something altogether more melancholic. It seems cheap to poke fun at someone else's misery, but aspects of Yeats's life are undoubtedly comic - his proposal to Iseult MacBride, Gonne's daughter, followed by another inevitable rejection (the apple didn't fall far from the tree!) was silliness itself.
Yet, there is something charming in this portrayal of Yeats as the lover eternal, doggedly determined