The Literature of Modernism: • Poetry (1914—1945)
Modernism • 1. Definition: • The term modernism refers to the radical shift in aesthetic and cultural sensibilities evident in the art and literature of the post World-War-I period.
experimental • a rejection of 19th-century traditions: conventions of realism or traditional meter. • disturbed the readers by adopting complex and difficult new forms and styles.
In fiction: • continuity of chronological development was upset • new ways of tracing the flow of characters' thoughts in the stream-of-consciousness styles. • In poetry: • Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot replaced the logical exposition of thoughts with collages of fragmentary images and complex allusions...
It marks a distinctive break with Victorian bourgeois morality; • rejecting the nineteenth-century optimism, • presenting a profoundly pessimistic picture of a culture in disarray.
Key Features of Modernism • Language as a substance in its own right • Departure from conventional literary structures • Collage and allusion
In literature, the movement is associated with the works of • T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, W. B. Yeats, • Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, H.D., • Franz Kafka.
Imagism • Name given to a movement in poetry, originating in 1912 and • represented by Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, and others in America, • aiming atclarity of expression through the use of precise visual images. • Theoretical principles/basic principles by T.E. Hulme P159 • Three phases P159-160
American Imagists • The most outstanding figures of the movement were Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell (1874~1925), and Hilda Doolittle (1886~1961). • Pound championed the movement from 1912 to 1914, setting down the Imagist principles. • Then Amy Lowell led the movement into the period of “Amygism, as Pound called it, from 1914 to 1917. • And 1917 marked the end of the short-lived movement. • Hilda Doolittle was the only poet who throughout her career remained an imagist.
Imagist manifesto • Three Principles of Imagism (by Ezra Pound &F. S. Flint) P159 • 1) Direct treatment of the thing, whether subjective or objective. • 2) Economy of expression. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation. • 3) Rhythm. A poem should be composed with the phrasing of music, not a metronome.
The second principle is greatly influenced by Chinese and Japanese poetry, in particular Japanese Haiku（俳句）.
古池塘 蛙儿轻跳入 水声响 ----松尾芭蕉
天净沙·秋思马致远 枯藤老树昏鸦。 小桥流水人家。 古道西风瘦马。 夕阳西下，断肠人在天涯。
山居秋暝 王维 空山新雨后，天气晚来秋。 明月松间照，清泉石上流。 竹喧归浣女，莲动下渔舟。 随意春芳歇，王孙自可留。
Images in Imagist Poems • P160 • Pound defined an image as that which presents • an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time. • An imagist poem enables the reader to see the physical thing rather than put him through an abstract process.
Influence on American Literature • 1. The imagist poets rebelled against conventional poetic material and forms and advocated the direct presentation of feelings in exquisite images. • The imagist theories call for brief language, pinpoint the precise picture in as few words as possible. • This new way of poetry composition has a lasting influence on the 20th century poetry. Most of the 20th century top poets are related with it, and benefited from it.
2. The second lasting influence of imagism is the form of free verse. • In free verse, some lines may be long while others may be very short. There are no metrical rules. • The rhythmical unit of the line divides the material into cadences, into phrases that the poet believes work together. • P163
“Oread” Hilda Doolittle(1886-1961) • Whirl up, sea— • whirl your pointed pines, • splash your great pines • on our rocks, • hurl your green over us, • cover us with your pools of fir. • P162
Ezra Pound (1885~1972) American poet and critic, "the poet's poet" the poet most responsible for defining and promoting a modernist aesthetic in poetry his promulgation of Imagism
Life Background P164 • Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho, • educated at the University of Pennsylvania and at Hamilton College in New York State. • In September 1908 he traveled to London, where he renewed his acquaintance with W. B. Yeats. • While in London he also became friendly with T. E. Hulme with whom he started the Imagist Movement in poetry.
In 1924 he moved to Italy and became involved in Fascist politics • In 1933 Pound had met Mussolini and been impressed by the dictator’s imposition of order in Italy. • 1945, arrested on charges of treason, • 1946: insane • 1958: released • He died in Venice at the age of 87.
Pound wrote 70 books and over 1500 articles in his life. His major work of poetry is The Cantos, a long poem which he wrote in sections between 1915 and 1945. Works
In a Station of the Metro 1913 The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. p161
The poem was first published in 1913 and is considered one of the leading poems of the Imagist tradition. • The poem is Pound’s written equivalent for the moment of revelation and intense emotion he felt at the Metro at La Concorde, Paris. • "In a poem of this sort," as Pound explained, "one is trying to record the precise instant when a thing outward and objective transforms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective."
The poem is essentially a set of images that have unexpected likeness and convey the rare emotion that Pound was experiencing at that time. • Pound contrasts the factual, mundane image that he actually witnessed with a metaphor from nature and thus infuses this “apparition” with visual beauty. • He wishes to translate his perception of beauty in the midst of ugliness into a single, perfect image in written form.
The word “apparition” is considered crucial as it evokes a mystical and supernatural sense of imprecision which is then reinforced by the metaphor of the second line. • The plosive word ‘Petals’ conjures ideas of delicate, feminine beauty which contrasts with the bleakness of the ‘wet, black bough’.
Pound’s process of deletion from thirty lines to only fourteen words typifies Imagism’s focus on economy of language, precision of imagery and experimenting with non-traditional verse forms. • It is also worth noting that the number of words in the poem (fourteen) is the same as the number of lines in a sonnet. • The words are distributed with eight in the first line and six in the second, mirroring the octet-sestet form of the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet.
"In a Station at the Metro" is an early work of Modernist poetry as it • attempts to "break from the pentameter", • incorporates the use of visual spacing as a poetic device, • and contains not a single verb.
The “Accumulation of Images” • To put two images together without any comment to produce a new effect. • What is the effect of “Accumulation of Images” in this poem?
By “Accumulation of Images,” Pound made a comparison between face and petal. • Flower “petal on a wet, black bough” serves as the most concise, direct ad definite metaphor for the “faces in the crowd.” • Petals are beautiful, but they exist very short time, so do the faces. • Here Pound deplore that in modern city beauty vanishes quickly.
地铁车站 人群里忽隐忽现的张张面庞， 黝黑沾湿枝头的点点花瓣。 又： 人群中这些脸庞的隐现； 湿漉漉、黑黝黝的树枝上的花瓣。 （裘小龙） 地铁站里 出现在人群里这一张张面孔； 湿的黑树枝上的一片片花瓣。 （张子清） 人群里这些脸忽然闪现； 花丛在一条湿黑的树枝。 （流沙河） 人群中，这些面孔的鬼影； 潮湿的黑树枝上的花瓣。 （余光中） 众中梦幻身影，黝湿枝头疏花。 （吴其尧） Chinese Version
IV Influences on American Literature • 1. Ezra Pound, for two generations, has been identified as the father of modernism, the first and the last of a band of revolutionists who changed the course of twentieth-century poetry.
2. Pound was a great man with a remarkably keen ear for the qualities of verse, constantly discovering new poets, generously and tirelessly getting them published in books, generously and tirelessly trying to educate the public to accept new forms of poetry. • 3. Pound had an extremely important influencebecause of his stress on the economy of verse.
RobertFrost(1874-1963) one of America's leading 20th-century poets and a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize UnofficialPoet Laureate his life's ambition: to write "a few poems it will be hard to get rid of."
highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. • His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. • A popular and often-quoted poet
Life Background • Robert Lee Frost was born and raised in San Francisco; his father was originally a New Englander and a graduate of Harvard. • In 1912 he took his family to England, where he met Pound. • He won the Pulitzer Prize four times and was praise as unofficial poet Laureate. • He was a professor of English at various universities, as poet-in-residence at the University of Michigan, as professor at Harvard University in 1936. • P195
Major Works • 1. A Boy’s Will (1912) • 2. North of Boston (1914) • 3. Mountain Interval (1916) • 4. New Hampshire (1923) • 5. West-Running Brook (1928) • 6. A Further Range (1936) • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; • The Road Not Taken; • Mending Wall; • After Apple-picking ; • Design
CategoriesofFrost’sPoetry • Dramatic poetry • Meditative poetry • Satirical poetry • Philosophical poetry
Major Themes in Frost’s Poetry • The relationship between men and the natural world • The fragmentation of modern experience • The nature of existence; the complexity of human life • The ambiguity of nature • p198-9
The Road Not Taken Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, • And sorry I could not travel both • And be one traveler, long I stood • And looked down one as far as I could • To where it bent in the undergrowth; • Then took the other, just as fair, • And having perhaps the better claim • Because it was grassy and wanted wear, • Though as for that the passing there • Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay • In leaves no step had trodden black. • Oh, I marked the first for another day! • Yet knowing how way leads on to way • I doubted if I should ever come back. • I shall be telling this with a sigh • Somewhere ages and ages hence: • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, • I took the one less traveled by, • And that has made all the difference.
The poem has two recognized interpretations; one is a more literal interpretation, while the other is more ironic. • Readers often see the poem literally, as an expression of individualism. • Critics typically view the poem as ironic. • – "'The Road Not Taken,' perhaps the most famous example of Frost's own claims to conscious irony and 'the best example in all of American poetry of a wolf in sheep's clothing.'“ • – and Frost himself warned "You have to be careful of that one; it's a tricky poem – very tricky."
Literal interpretation • This poem is commonly known as "the path less traveled' by some, but its correct name is "the road not taken." The names refer to two different roads, the correct name referring to the one the traveler did not take. • The poem's last lines, where the narrator declares that taking the road "less traveled by" has "made all the difference," can be seen as a declaration of the importance of independence and personal freedom.
"The Road Not Taken" seems to illustrate that once one takes a certain road, there is no turning back. • Although one might change paths later on, the past cannot be changed. • It can be seen as showing that choice is very important, and is a thing to be considered.
Ironic interpretation • The ironic interpretation, widely held by critics, is that the poem is instead about regret and personal myth-making, rationalizing our decisions. • In this interpretation, the final two lines are ironic – the choice made little or no difference at all, the speaker's protestations to the contrary.
The speaker admits in the second and third stanzas that both paths may be equally worn and equally leaf-covered, and it is only in his future recollection that he will call one road "less traveled by". • Frost: "It was my rather private jest at the expense of those who might think I would yet live to be sorry for the way I had taken in life."