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Although widely divergent as works of literature, the autobiographies of Tom Barclay and W. B. Yeats (1865–1939) exhibit a telling congruity in their depiction of an Irish childhood in England in which racially motivated bullying, and the anti-English animus that was its converse, play a formative role. Yeats, of course, was a scion of the provincial Irish Protestant bourgeoisie, whose ancestors would have been mistrusted by Barclay’s peasant forebears. Yet neither religion nor breeding could insulate young Willie from being mocked as a ‘Mad Irishman’ by his London schoolfellows, as the following extract from his first piece of sustained autobiographical prose, composed in 1914, attests. Yeats was still an infant when his family first moved to London in 1867 and he was to spend the next decade being ferried between Sligo, Dublin and Bedford Park in Hammersmith, where John Butler Yeats temporarily settled his cash-strapped family. In January 1877 Willie was enrolled at the Godolphin School in Hammersmith, where he remained until 1881, the year in which the family moved back to Dublin. Six years later Yeats returned to London to play an integral part in several literary and dramatic ventures, including the establishment of the landmark Irish Literary Society in January 1892. By this time, his Bedford Park residence was a hive of expatriate Irish cultural activity and the poet himself was embarked upon a path that would see him definitively transform the image and identity of Ireland and the Irish, not only in the minds of his compatriots but in the eyes of Britain and the world.