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The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

Modernism and After

Charles Altieri

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Englische Sprachwissenschaft / Literaturwissenschaft


Written by a leading critic, this invigorating introduction tomodernist American poetry conveys the excitement that can begenerated by a careful reading of modernist poems. * * Encourages readers to identify with the modernists' senseof the revolutionary possibilities of their art. * * Embraces four generations of modernist American poets upthrough to the 1980s. * * Gives readers a sense of the ambitions, the disillusionmentsand the continuities of modernist poetry. * * Includes close readings of particular poems which show howreaders can use these works to connect with what concernsthem.


(Year's Workin English Studies, November 2008)
"Altieri's powerful readings [are] excellent analysesof poems by Oppen and Bishop, as well as by a host of others,[that] offer insights both into the details of the texts and thewider intellectual issues at stake, while the book'sdiffering vocations come together powerfully when it analyses theself-projections of 'Prufrock.'"
-Gail McDonald, University of NorthCarolina-Greensboro
"Altieri is thoroughly captivating, especially when his precise,synthetic, and innovative interpretations focus on beloved poetssuch as T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, W.H. Auden,Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery." (The Wallace Stevens Journal)"Altieri reads modernist poetry with deep attention and pleasurebecause he believes that the "gamble" taken bymodernism is worth our continued respect. That gamble is thepossibility that these poems are not "an accompaniment to theworld but the realization of how mind and world become one dynamicfield." Situating the experiments of modernist poetry in thecontext of early 20th-century scientific and philosophicaldevelopments, particularly in the understanding of sensation andperception, Altieri proposes the emergence of a "newrealism." This new realism has consequences for theintellectual and affective dimensions of poetry, for the conceptionof the poet as the seeing "I," and for the kind ofattention readers bring to a poem. The book traces a historyranging from the "impersonal" experiments of highmodernism (Pound, Williams, Eliot, Loy, Moore and Stevens) to poemsthat construct new kinds of social identities (Zukofsky, Oppen,Hughes, and Auden) and, finally, to a range of later poets who, invarious ways, interrogate the costs and limits of impersonality(Lowell, Rich, Creeley, Bishop, Ashbery). Offering lucid analysesof major poets, The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetrydemonstrates how reading a poem can be an exhilarating way ofengaging with the world."
-Stephen Fredman, University of Notre Dame
"Charles Altieri has the almost uncanny capacity tosynthesize complex entities, such as the entire body of poetry of amajor figure or the fraught interplay of a poetic movement, into aseries of clear and incisive philosophical statements. It's notthat he reduces poetry to philosophy--in fact, he gives manysensitive readings of individual poems--but that he is able toferret out what is most crucially at stake in modern poetry and topresent it crisply and succinctly. No one does a better job thanAltieri of showing how much modern poetry has to contribute to anunderstanding of modern life."
-Christopher MacGowan, College of William and Mary
"The close readings of sometimes quite familiar poems arefresh and provocative, and the argument is one that makes avaluable contribution to our understanding of the legacy of themajor modernist poets."
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Englische Literatur / Moderne, Literaturwissenschaft, Modernism, Literature, Literary Criticism & History, Literaturkritik u. -geschichte