Yeats in Translation

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Swedish translationThe Dublin City Library's Collection of W.B. Yeats's books holds about 200 translations which I have gathered together during my work on a new bibliography of his writings

W.B. Yeats's works have been translated into and published in dozens of languages, four dozen plus one and a couple of dialects at my present count, and maybe more we don't know about. The alphabetical list looks impressive -

Albanian, Arabic, Asturian, Bosnian, Belorussian, Brazilian, Breton, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, French, Frisian, Galician, German, German dialect, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Serbian, Slovac, Slovenian, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vicentino (the dialect spoken in Vicenza).

Click images below to view larger versions.

Yeats Swedish translation . Teatro . Speckled Bird .

I am sure that many people in different countries must have tried their hands (and minds) at translating the poems into their mother tongues for the sheer intellectual pleasure, and with no thought of publishing the result. How many languages? Well, portions of the Bible have been translated into over 2,500, and that number is still growing of course.

Collected PoemsThe order Smythe Bookplatein which his poems and plays were translated - or at least published in translation - is interesting:
1892    French
1894    German
1898    Norwegian
1904    Polish
1905    Irish and Japanese
1908    Serbian
1913    Swedish
1914    Italian, Dutch and Hungarian
1920    Czech
1921    Spanish
1923    Romanian


The first translation of any of W.B. Yeats's works was of his collection Irish Fairy Tales (1892) published a couple of years later in German as Marchen aus Irlands Gauen. There is very little of Yeats's writing in that work, which is made up of others' stories, and it even omits his introductory poem. It is very rare and I do not know anyone who has seen a copy.

The first translation of one of Yeats's plays as a single volume is into Irish, Fr O'Kelly's  CAITLÍN NÍ UALLAĊÁIN | DRÁMA NÁISIÚNTA.  An t-Aṫair Tomás Ó Ceallaiġ. d’aistriġ ón mBéarla which was published in 1905 by M.H. Gill & Son.

Our Guest blogger is Colin P. Smythe, publisher, author, and Yeats expert. Colin's Collection of Yeats is held at Dublin City Library & Archive.



Love to see a display of a selection of these books for Yeates birthday next year.

Many of the book covers seem very interesting

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