W. B. Yeats’s art and life were marked by the polarizing influences of Irish politics. In addition to writing poems and plays and establishing an Irish national theater, Yeats published a great many letters to the editors of various Irish newspapers, letters on a variety of topics ranging from the Abbey theater, literature, and the language debate to the right of transportation workers to unionize. There is a tendency to separate Yeats’s writing and his politics, and a growing body of criticism has challenged it. Conor O’Brien’s 1972 essay “Passion and Cunning: the Politics of Yeats” debunked the myth that Yeats was apolitical; O’Brien insisted that “Yeats was a public figure for more than forty years; deeply immersed in political interests, politically active whenever opportunity presented itself”. Early in Yeats’s career, John Eglinton criticized Yeats for embracing mythological and legendary topics rather than realistic ones.