Gill & Macmillan, IR£19.99 (HB)

Born on 13 June 1865, WB Yeats is widely regarded as one of Ireland's greatest poets. In his book Terence Brown sets out to explain just why Yeats is deserving of this tag. Brown traces Yeats' life, returning to his early days spent between Dublin, Sligo and London, and looking at his career against the backdrop of historical and societal changes taking place in both Britain and Ireland.

Subtitled 'A critical biography', the book delves into Yeats' work, both the acclaimed as well as his early work, offering useful insights and critical analysis. Looking at his main themes – the occult, women and unrequited love, Brown investigates the circumstances behind Yeats' choice of subject. This Trinity College Professor of Modern English also critically analyses Yeats' critics.

A complex and intricate volume, complete with index and bibliography, as well as a guide for further reading, it will be a god-send for English students as well as avid Yeats fans. If, however, you're simply looking for a general outline of, or an introduction to, the life and career of WB Yeats then this book is far too academic for the average reader. 'The Life of WB Yeats' will certainly find a home in any university library.

Joanne Ahern