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Dublin Marathon Medals Commemorate Yeats, and Misquote Him

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Dublin Marathon Medals Commemorate Yeats, and Misquote Him

Those who full this yr’s Irish Life Dublin Marathon will come away from the race with numerous rewards: The satisfaction of getting skilled for and achieved a 26.2 mile run, the aid of being completed — and a prize medal commemorating the Irish poet William Butler Yeats.

But on that medal, beneath a picture of the writer and the race’s emblem, is a quote that it seems Yeats could have by no means stated or written: “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.”

Ahead of the race on Oct. 29, the occasion’s organizers shared a picture on social media final week of the participation medals, which honor the one hundredth anniversary of Yeats’s Nobel Prize in Literature. The quote curves across the backside edges of the medal.

While the message is befitting of a marathon, the place individuals come from throughout to run collectively towards a typical purpose, on-line commenters had been fast to ask: Did Yeats actually say that?

In this case, the attribution can’t maintain.

Though the quote is broadly attributed to Yeats on-line, there isn’t a file of him having ever written or stated the road, stated Susan O’Keeffe, the director of the Yeats Society Sligo in Sligo, Ireland. It’s unclear how or when the road got here to be related to the poet, as a result of “all sorts of things get attributed to all sorts of writers, which is one of those issues that arises” in analysis, she stated.

“The thing about Yeats that’s worth bearing in mind is that an awful lot of his letters and his articles and his essays were kept,” Ms. O’Keeffe stated. There are students who dedicate a long time to learning the poet; with all of that, it may be “pretty definitive” that there isn’t a proof of attribution.

But, she added, the message is suitable for the occasion. The organizers “set out to do a good thing, and they have done a good thing,” she stated.

The organizers of the Dublin Marathon, which was established in 1980 and is bought out this yr with 22,500 runners, have through the years used the medal design as a option to commemorate distinguished figures who’ve contributed to Irish society.

Some of the commentary this yr has centered on “the view that this quote has never definitively been proven to be Yeats,” stated Sinéad Galvin, a spokeswoman for the marathon. “The sentiment, however, still stands.”

Yeats, who was a distinguished determine within the Irish literary motion, stays broadly studied and cited — a phrase from his poem “The Second Coming,” for instance, impressed the title for Joan Didion’s essay assortment “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” In 1923, he obtained the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.”

The quote on the medal “was chosen as it embodies the values of the Irish Life Dublin Marathon,” Ms. Galvin stated. “There is an incredible camaraderie amongst the runners on marathon day,” she stated, and one of many intentions is to rejoice Yeats.

As far as any analysis can inform, he was not a identified runner. “His eyesight was very poor, so that might have stopped him,” Ms. O’Keeffe stated.

Even although the poet most likely didn’t give you the phrases himself, Ms. O’Keeffe stated she believed he would have loved the story and agreed with the meant message.

“Twenty-two thousand people will be taking Yeats home with them at the end of a run,” Ms. O’Keeffe stated. “It’s fantastic — the sentiment couldn’t have been better.”

Source web site: www.nytimes.com