How Asperger's Syndrome affected W.B. Yeats' life and work

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Killalea, Damien
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BA in English Literature and Drama
Dublin Business School
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Professor Michael Fitzgerald, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist of Trinity College Dublin, published a book in early 2004. This book entitled "Autism and Creativity. Is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability?", offers new evidence that Sir Keith Joseph, Eamon de Valera, Lewis Carroll and William Butler Yeats all exhibited symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's Syndrome is a form of autism in which an individual has poor social skills and obsessions with complex topics. However, people with the condition are often bright, and have above average verbal skills. Hans Asperger who discovered this form of autism describes it as " .....a sort of intelligence hardly touched by tradition and culture – unconventional, unorthodox, strangely "pure" and original, akin to the intelligence of true creativity" (Fitzgerald 2004 P. 5). In light of this new evidence I have chosen to examine William Butler Y eats' life and work through his several biographers and other works to show that indeed this brilliant, eccentric poet did suffer from Asperger's Syndrome.