Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Joseph Skipsey, the 'peasant poet', and an unpublished letter from W. B. Yeats

Tait, Gordon


Gordon Tait


This article examines an unpublished letter from Yeats to the ‘pitman-poet’ Joseph Skipsey, which gives new insight into the early career of Yeats and a deeper understanding of the possibilities and capabilities of the Victorian working-classes. It argues that, in Skipsey, Yeats found an English equivalent to the Irish peasant poet, a figure whose life and poetry was central to Yeats’s vision of Ireland and his nation’s literary revival. The article contends that, following the discovery of a letter from Yeats, Skipsey’s poetry and influence should be considered outside the bounds of the Pre-Raphaelite clique within which he is usually located.


Tait, G. (2016). Joseph Skipsey, the 'peasant poet', and an unpublished letter from W. B. Yeats. Literature and History, 25(2), 134-149.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 7, 2016
Publication Date 2016-11
Deposit Date Jun 29, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 7, 2016
Journal Literature and history
Print ISSN 0306-1973
Electronic ISSN 2050-4594
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 2
Pages 134-149
Keywords Literature and Literary Theory; History
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted version of an article accepted for publication in Literature and History.


Downloadable Citations