Dublin Marathon Medals Commemorate Yeats, and Misquote Him

Dublin Marathon Medals Commemorate Yeats, and Misquote Him

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

However 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 mentioned or written: “There are not any strangers right here; solely associates you haven’t met but.”

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

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

On this case, the attribution can’t maintain.

Although the quote is extensively attributed to Yeats on-line, there isn’t any file of him having ever written or mentioned the road, mentioned Susan O’Keeffe, the director of the Yeats Society Sligo in Sligo, Eire. It’s unclear how or when the road got here to be related to the poet, as a result of “all kinds of issues get attributed to all kinds of writers, which is a type of points that arises” in analysis, she mentioned.

“The factor about Yeats that’s price taking into consideration is that an terrible lot of his letters and his articles and his essays had been saved,” Ms. O’Keeffe mentioned. There are students who dedicate a long time to finding out the poet; with all of that, it may be “fairly definitive” that there isn’t any proof of attribution.

However, she added, the message is acceptable for the occasion. The organizers “got down to do factor, they usually have accomplished factor,” she mentioned.

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

Among the commentary this yr has centered on “the view that this quote has by no means definitively been confirmed to be Yeats,” mentioned Sinéad Galvin, a spokeswoman for the marathon. “The sentiment, nonetheless, nonetheless stands.”

Yeats, who was a outstanding determine within the Irish literary motion, stays extensively studied and cited — a phrase from his poem “The Second Coming,” for instance, impressed the title for Joan Didion’s essay assortment “Slouching In the direction of Bethlehem.” In 1923, he obtained the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his all the time impressed poetry, which in a extremely inventive kind offers expression to the spirit of a complete nation.”

The quote on the medal “was chosen because it embodies the values of the Irish Life Dublin Marathon,” Ms. Galvin mentioned. “There’s an unimaginable camaraderie amongst the runners on marathon day,” she mentioned, and one of many intentions is to have a good time Yeats.

So far as any analysis can inform, he was not a recognized runner. “His eyesight was very poor, so which may have stopped him,” Ms. O’Keeffe mentioned.

Though the poet most likely didn’t provide you with the phrases himself, Ms. O’Keeffe mentioned she believed he would have loved the story and agreed with the supposed message.

“Twenty-two thousand folks shall be taking Yeats residence with them on the finish of a run,” Ms. O’Keeffe mentioned. “It’s incredible — the sentiment couldn’t have been higher.”

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