Committed Styles: Modernism, Politics, and Left-Wing by Benjamin Kohlmann

By Benjamin Kohlmann

Committed Styles bargains a brand new knowing of the politicized literature of the Nineteen Thirties and its courting to modernism. It reclaims a significant physique of literary and significant works for modernist experiences, supplying in-depth readings of texts through T.S. Eliot and I.A. Richards, in addition to via key left-wing authors together with William Empson, David Gascoyne, Charles Madge, Humphrey Jennings, and Edward Upward. development on vast new archival study, Benjamin Kohlmann explores the deep tensions among modernist experimentation and political imaginative and prescient that lie on the middle of those works.

Taking as its concentration the paintings of those writers, the publication argues that the shut interactions among literary creation, serious mirrored image, and political activism within the decade formed the influential view of modernism as essentially apolitical. Intervening in debates in regards to the lengthy lifetime of modernism, it contends that we have to take heavily the anti-modernist impulse of Thirties left-wing literature even if recognition is paid to the formal complexity of those 'committed' works. The tonal ambiguities which run throughout the politicised literature of the Nineteen Thirties therefore influence now not a disengagement from yet a extra thorough immersion within the profoundly conflicted political commitments of the last decade. even as, the learn exhibits that debates concerning the politics of writing within the Thirties proceed to notify present debates in regards to the courting among literature and political commitment.

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Additional info for Committed Styles: Modernism, Politics, and Left-Wing Literature in the 1930s (Oxford English Monographs)

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255). 7 For Eliot’s statement of his religious, aesthetic, and political beliefs, see For Lancelot Andrewes (London: Faber and Faber, 1928), p. ix. 8 T. S. Eliot, ‘Dante’ [1929], in Selected Essays: 1917–1932 (London: Faber and Faber, 1932), pp. 223–63 (p. ). 9 Paul Fry, ‘Hermeneutic Circling: Empson, Rosemund Tuve, and the “Wimsatt Law” ’, in Some Versions of Empson, ed. by Matthew Bevis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 201–16 (p. 213). For a discussion of the place of the footnote in the debate between Richards and Eliot, see also John Constable, ‘I.

The first ‘heresy’, which Eliot associated with the critic Montgomery Belgion, contended that poets inadvertently use their poetry to propagate their philosophy of life; by contrast the second critical heresy, misleadingly identified with Richards, sought to purge poetry of all contextual taints. In the 1929 Note, Eliot claims to steer clear of both extremes. However, the intensity of his opposition to Richards’s views can be measured by his temporary rapprochement with the first ‘heresy’. Invoking Dante again in an essay entitled ‘Poetry and Propaganda’, Eliot pointed out that Dante and Lucretius are ‘what Mr.

S. Eliot’, Experiment, 6 (October 1930), 27–32. 38 Committed Styles Magi’ is intended to rebut the crushing fatalism of Hulme’s posthumous volume Speculations (1924). ’ But in the degree to which the old men of thought are Christian, their awareness of the discontinuity between the human and the divine is prevented from becoming the consciousness of an antinomy. Much more Byzantinism and it would begin to quarrel with the dogma of the incarnation; one already feels that Hulme’s philosophy moves in that direction.

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