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1865 - 1939

W. B. Yeats was an Irish poet, dramatist, and one of the driving forces behind the Irish Literary Revival. His first play, The Land of Heart's Desire, was produced at the Avenue Theatre, London in 1894. Other plays produced before 1904 include The Countess Kathleen (1899); Diarmuid and Grainne (1901); Kathleen Ni Houlihan & The Pot of Broth (1902); and The Hour-Glass & The King’s Threshold (1903). Yeats co-founded the Abbey Theatre in 1904, and his play On Baile's Strand was staged on the opening night. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923, chiefly for his dramatic works. He was also a statesman, and was appointed to Seanad Éireann in 1922 where he served until retiring due to ill health in 1928. His poetry, especially the volumes The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921), The Tower (1928), The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933), and Last Poems and Plays (1940), made him one of the outstanding and most influential twentieth-century poets writing in English.