14 de nov. de 2010

The New Critics developed theories sympathetic to some aspects of literary modernism, but they condescended to Pound, Williams, and Cummings, tolerated Moore, ignored H.D., did a poor job with Stevens, failed to welcome O'Hara and Creeley, Duncan and Ginsberg--the poets who learned from modernism. Modernism, for the New Critics, didn't include European surrealism or the Latin American offspring of the avant-garde.

So modernism turned out to be Yeats, Eliot, and the poetry of the New Critics themselves (Ransom, Tate), along with the academic school branching out from Auden. The anti-modernist turn within modernism.

8 comentarios:

Sarang dijo...

I'm not sure which one of two things you're saying here: (a) that Duncan and Ginsberg are the poets who learned from Yeats and Eliot, or (b) that the entire Yeats-Eliot-Auden-Tate-Lowell(?) line of poets constitute an "anti-modernist turn." (a) I would disagree with, as Auden, if anyone, learned from Yeats and Eliot; (b) is just labeling. Critics ought to write about poets they're sympathetic to.

Jonathan dijo...

It is clear that by the 50s the poets influenced by Auden / Tate / Ransom / Yeats constituted an antimodern school, but one that was of course influenced by modernism. It's a conservative late modernism that really despises a lot of modernism.

Sarang dijo...

Isn't it true of virtually any writer of the 1950s, though, that s/he ignored or dismissed a lot of the canonical modernist poets, and was "anti-modernist" in this sense? One doesn't think of Creeley as being much indebted to Moore, Eliot, Auden, Wilfred Owen, or even Frost.

Jonathan dijo...

O'Hara was open to Auden, Lorca, Machado, Stevens, Reverdy, Williams; Ashbery was open to the surrealists and Stevens, Williams, Eliot. You have a better case with Creeley, who has a narrow range of influences, than with O'Hara, Duncan (the H.D. book), or Sorrentino, with his interest in Joyce, Williams... Not every writer will be influenced by every other writer, but I'm talking about general trends. I don't consider Wilfred Owen a modernist particularly, or Frost. My original post distinguished between modernists and poets who represented the anti-modern turn within modernism. To the extent that Creeley and his ilk turned against Frost, etc... it was because they associated him with the anti-modern movement.

Vance Maverick dijo...

Is this discussion simply a disagreement about what we mean by "modernism"? Jonathan, I think, is talking about the ongoing radical project to make it new, associated in English with Stein, Pound, the younger Eliot, then Zukofsky, etc., etc. Sarang is talking about "important poetic currents since 1900", which obviously include Auden, the example of Yeats (as opposed to his practice), the conservative strain in Eliot, etc. Modernity, I would say, rather than modernism.

Sarang dijo...

Yes, I think this is just labeling (as I sort-of-said above). I tend to define modernism as everything in the early 20th cent. that represented a sharp break from the Romantic and Victorian eras. This obviously includes Auden and Frost. I would also suggest that implicitly accusing others of not-making-it-new is just a form of name-calling. I'm not terribly clear on what you mean, Vance, by your antithesis between the example of Yeats and his practice.

Vance Maverick dijo...

Hmm, I don't want to provoke a big argument in the comments of someone else's blog. So putting aside most of those issues, the claim I do want to stress is that it's legitimate to judge a writer or work as more radical, or more conservative, relative to the environment. This means it's possible to say, for example, that, while one can tell Auden's poetry from Arnold's, Auden was no radical in the context of the 1930s. Really making the case would take work, of course.

Sarang dijo...

Yeah, I don't want to lean too hard on this claim. From my perspective, the fact that Auden was not technically revolutionary _in the 1930s_ is part of the case for his being a modernist! I agree, of course, that there is a parallel way of looking at things where modernism is defined in terms of "perpetual revolution," and (for instance) one could come up with a modernist canon that begins with Chaucer and includes Skelton, Blake, Whitman, and Hopkins, as well as the usual 20th cent. suspects.