Modernism from Right to Left: Wallace Stevens, the Thirties, & Literary Radicalism
Part biography and part literary history, this book is about the experience of the American modernist poet Wallace Stevens in the 1930s. Stevens is generally thought to have antagonized, even enraged, the young literary radicals of the period; his long poem, "Owl's Clover", has been generally understood as a negative, even bitter response to leftist aesthetics. Using the archives of many little-known political poets, Alan Filreis offers a detailed description of various literary-political battles, in which the very texture of the positions taken up in the movement between left and right becomes available to us in the language of the participants. Filreis demonstrates that radicals knew and appreciated modernism more than has been recognized, and that Stevens's poetry - as well as that of other then-eminent modernists - was significantly influenced by poets and critics on the Left. Modernism from Right to Left shows that the interactions between eminent modernists - Stevens, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams - and upstart radicals - Stanley Burnshaw, T.C. Wilson, Ruth Lechlitner, Kenneth Fearing, Muriel Rukeyser, Willard Maas, and others - were far more dynamic than has been acknowledged during and beyond the eras of anticommunism. This book is a contribution to the cultural history of the American 1930s as well as a novel approach to an oft-studied figure.
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aesthetic Alcestis American argument Blackmur Blue Guitar canto communist Cowley critics cultural Deal detractors Dillon editor Eliot emphasis added fascist Granville Hicks Gregory Grigson guitarist Harmonium Hartford Harvard Horace Gregory Hound & Horn HRC.WM Papers Ideas of Order ideological imagination January Kenneth Fearing Knopf later Latimer Latimer's leftist Leippert letter liberal lyric Maas Maas's Marianne Moore Masses modern modernist Monroe Moore Moore's Morse noncommunist O'Donnell objectivists October Owl's Clover park phrase poem's poet poet's poetic poetry political Popular Front position Pound Press proletarian published quoted radical poets revolutionary rhetoric RLL Papers romantic romanticism Ruth Lechlitner Samuel French Morse Schneider sense social speaker Stanley Burnshaw Stevens's Stevens's poem suggested things thirties tion undated Univ verse Wallace Stevens Willard Maas Williams Williams's Wilson WM Papers WM to RLL words writing wrote WS's York Zabel