Diverse modernist poems, far from advertising a capacity to prefigure utopia or save society, understand themselves to be complicit in the unhappiness and injustice of an imperfect or fallen world. Combining analysis of technical devices and aesthetic values with broader accounts of contemporary critical debates, social contexts, and political history, this book offers a formalist argument about how these poems understand themselves and their situation, and a historicist argument about the meanings of their forms. The poetry of the canonical modernists T. S. Eliot, Mina Loy, and Wallace Stevens is placed alongside the poetry of Ford Madox Ford, better known for his novels and his criticism, and the poetry of Joseph Macleod, whose work has been largely forgotten. Focusing on the years from 1914 to 1930, the book offers a new account of a crucial moment in the history of British and American modernism.
Sean Pryor is Senior Lecturer in English in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He works on nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry and poetics. He is the author of W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and the Poetry of Paradise (2011), and co-editor of Writing, Medium, Machine: Modern Technographies (with David Trotter, not yet published). He also co-edits the journal Affirmations: Of the Modern.
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