Manual War trauma and English modernism : T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence

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The American poet Ezra Pound was introduced to this group and they found that their ideas resembled his. Both of these poets were students of the early Greek lyric poetry , especially the works of Sappho.

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Hulme , which carried a note that saw the first appearance of the word Imagiste in print. Aldington's poems were in the November issue of Poetry and H. The latter contained this succinct statement of the group's position:. In setting these criteria for poetry, the Imagists saw themselves as looking backward to the best practices of pre- Romantic writing.

Imagists poets used sharp language and embrace imagery. Their work, however, was to have a revolutionary impact on English-language writing for the rest of the 20th century. In , Pound was contacted by the widow of the recently deceased Orientalist Ernest Fenollosa , who while in Japan had collected word-by-word translations and notes for classical Chinese poems that fit in closely with this program. Chinese grammar offers different expressive possibilities from English grammar, a point that Pound subsequently made much of.

In his resulting Cathay , Pound rendered this in simple English as.

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Between and , four anthologies of Imagist poetry were published. In addition to Pound, Flint, H. Lawrence and Marianne Moore. With a few exceptions, this represents a roll-call of English-language modernist poets of the time.

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After the volume, Pound distanced himself from the group and the remaining anthologies appeared under the editorial control of Amy Lowell. Lowell expressed her extreme debt to the French, to what she preferred to call 'unrhymed cadence' instead of the more common 'verse libre'. Henry Gore — , whose work is undergoing something of a revival was also heavily influenced by the Imagist movement, although from a different generation from H. The outbreak of World War I represented a setback for the budding modernist movement for a number of reasons: firstly, writers like Aldington found themselves in active service; secondly, paper shortages and related factors meant that publication of new work became increasingly difficult; and, thirdly, public sentiment in time of war meant that war poets such as Wilfred Owen , who wrote more conventional verse, became increasingly popular.

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One poet who served in the war, the visual artist David Jones , later resisted this trend in his long experimental war poem " In Parenthesis ", which was written directly out of his trench experiences but was not published until The war also tended to undermine the optimism of the Imagists. This was reflected in a number of major poems written in its aftermath. Pound's "Homage to Sextus Propertius " uses the loose translations and transformations of the Latin poet Propertius to ridicule war propaganda and the idea of empire.

His " Hugh Selwyn Mauberley " represents his farewell to Imagism and lyric poetry in general. The writing of these poems coincided with Pound's decision to abandon London permanently. Sound poetry emerged in this period as a response to the war. The most famous English-language modernist work arising out of this post-war disillusionment is T. Eliot 's epic " The Waste Land " Eliot was an American poet who had been living in London for some time.

Although he was never formally associated with the Imagist group, his work was admired by Pound, who, in , helped him publish " The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ", which brought him to prominence. When Eliot had completed his original draft of a long poem based on both the disintegration of his personal life and mental stability, and the culture around him, he gave the manuscript, provisionally titled "He Do the Police in Different Voices", to Pound for comment.

After some heavy editing, "The Waste Land" in the form in which we now know it was published, and Eliot came to be seen as the voice of a generation. The addition of notes to the published poem served to highlight the use of collage as a literary technique, paralleling similar practice by the cubists and other visual artists. From this point on, modernism in English tended towards a poetry of the fragment that rejected the idea that the poet could present a comfortingly coherent view of life.

Eliot 's " The Waste Land " is a foundational text of modernism, representing the moment at which Imagism moves into modernism proper. Broken, fragmented and seemingly unrelated slices of imagery come together to form a disjunctive anti-narrative. The motif of sight and vision is as central to the poem as it is to modernism; the omni-present character Tiresias acting as a unifying theme.

The reader is thrown into confusion, unable to see anything but a heap of broken images. The narrator, however in "The Waste Land" as in other texts , promises to show the reader a different meaning; that is, how to make meaning from dislocation and fragmentation. This construction of an exclusive meaning is essential to modernism. Although London and Paris were key centres of activity for English-language modernists, much important activity took place elsewhere, including early publication in Poetry magazine in America. This magazine, which ran from to , was edited by Alfred Kreymborg.

Contributors also included Pound, Eliot, H. The U. Williams, a doctor who worked in general practice in a working-class area of Rutherford, New Jersey , explained this approach by saying that he made his poems from 'the speech of Polish mothers'. In this, they were placing themselves in a tradition stretching back to Whitman. After her initial association with the Imagists, Marianne Moore carved out a unique niche for herself among 20th-century poets.

Much of her poetry is written in syllabic verse , repeating the number of syllables rather than stresses or beats, per line.

She also experimented with stanza forms borrowed from troubadour poetry. Wallace Stevens ' work falls somewhat outside this mainstream of modernism. Indeed, he deprecated the work of both Eliot and Pound as "mannered. Unlike many other modernists, but like the English Romantics , by whom he was influenced , Stevens thought that poetry was what all humans did; the poet was merely self-conscious about the activity. In Scotland, the poet Hugh MacDiarmid formed something of a one-man modernist movement.

An admirer of Joyce and Pound, MacDiarmid wrote much of his early poetry in anglicised Lowland Scots , a literary dialect which had also been used by Robert Burns. After the war, he set up a literary magazine, Scottish Chapbook , with 'Not traditions - Precedents! His later work reflected an increasing interest in found poetry and other formal innovations. In Canada the Montreal Group of modernist poets, including A. Klein , A.

Smith , and F. Scott , formed at that city's McGill University in the mids. Though the poets of the group made little headway for the next twenty years, they were ultimately successful in establishing a modernist hegemony and canon in that country that would endure until at least the end of the 20th century. Wallace Stevens ' essential modernist poem, "Of Modern Poetry" sounds as if the verbs are left out.

Right path. Right strategy. Right partner.

The verb 'to be' is omitted from the first and final lines. The poem itself opens and closes with the act of finding. The poem and the mind become synonymous: a collapse between the poem, the act, and the mind. During the poem the dyad becomes further collapsed into one: a spatial and a temporal collapse between the subject and the object; form and content equal each other; form becomes not simply expressive of, but constitutive of.

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The poem goes from being a static object to being an action. The poem of the mind has to be alternative and listening; it is experimental. The poem resists and refuses transcendentalism , but remains within the conceptual limits of the mind and the poem. With the publication of The Waste Land , modernist poetry appeared to have made a breakthrough into wider critical discourse and a broader readership.

However, the economic collapse of the late s and early s had a serious negative impact on the new writing. For American writers, living in Europe became more difficult as their incomes lost a great deal of their relative value. While Gertrude Stein , Barney and Joyce remained in the French city, much of the scene they had presided over scattered. Pound was in Italy, Eliot in London, H.

The economic depression, combined with the impact of the Spanish Civil War , also saw the emergence, in the Britain of the s, of a more overtly political poetry, as represented by such writers as W. Auden and Stephen Spender.