Modernist aesthetics have been identified with a sense of cultural crisis, defined by its distance from an ideal of unified consciousness. This original study of the problem of consciousness in modern poetry examines the struggle towards that ideal of 'unitary' experience, through close readings of British and Irish poets from Hardy and the Georgian poets, through Lawrence, Edward Thomas, Yeats, Eliot, MacNiece and Auden, to Ted Hughes. Underhill argues that while their poetry is both a critique and an expression of crisis, its tendency to emphasize inner states and subjective experience has drawn attention away from the socio-historical dimensions of the problem. Poetry, as contemporary theories of consciousness remind us, is itself a socio-cultural institution and is answerable to outer as well as inner forces. Underhill examines these problems and paradoxes, showing how the impossibility of any stable notion of the unitary in our century can in fact be seen as an opportunity for creative choice and freedom.
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(216mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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