The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Modernism and After / Edition 1

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"Written by a leading critic, this introduction to modernist American poetry conveys the excitement that can be generated by a careful reading of modernist poems. It encourages readers to confront the difficulties involved in tackling this literature and to identify with the modernists' sense of the revolutionary possibilities of their art." Altieri's account embraces four generations of American poets, tracing the ambitions, the disillusionments, and the continuities of modernist poetry through to the 1980s. He describes how the sense of liberation created by early modernist formal experiments was followed by disappointment as the limitations of these discoveries emerged. He contends that, in response, poets such as Wallace Stevens and W. H. Auden reformulated modernist strategies to develop new ways for poetry to take social responsibility. Finally, he shows how these transformations were carried through by later poets suds as Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich, and Robert Creeley.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Altieri’s powerful readings [are] excellent analyses of poems by Oppen and Bishop, as well as by a host of others, [that] offer insights both into the details of the texts and the wider intellectual issues at stake, while the book’s differing vocations come together powerfully when it analyses the self-projections of ‘Prufrock.’” (Year's Work in English Studies, November 2008)

"Altieri is thoroughly captivating, especially when his precise, synthetic, and innovative interpretations focus on beloved poets such as T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery."
(The Wallace Stevens Journal)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Charles Altieri is Stageberg Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. His previous publications include The Particulars of Rapture: An Aesthetics of the Affects (2003), Subjective Agency: A Theory of First-person Expressivity and its Social Implications (Blackwell, 1994), Postmodernism Now (1999), and Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry (1990).

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments.

List of Abbreviations.

1 Introduction: The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry: An Overview.

2 The New Realism in Modernist Poetry: Pound and Williams.

3 The Doctrine of Impersonality and Modernism’s War on Rhetoric: Eliot, Loy, and Moore.

4 How Modernist Poetics Failed and Efforts at Renewal: Williams, Oppen, and Hughes.

5 The Return to Rhetoric in Modernist Poetry: Stevens and Auden.

6 Modernist Dilemmas and Early Post-Modernist Responses.


Works Cited.

Further Reading.


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