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Lecture 11

Lecture 11- Modernist Prose.docx

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English (Arts)
Course Code
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

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Lecture 11: Modernist Prose Modernism in America: Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams • distinctly American settings and language • appropriate/take up modernism, yet offer subtly critiques of it Robert Frost • older than other modernist poets • firmly located in America • used familiar and folksy images • many set in New England • wrote in blank verse, rather than free verse ◦ unrhymed iambic pentameter ◦ i.e. Birches lines 1-4 • romanticism and modernism • allusions to high culture are not confronting or impeding our understanding • more interested in imagination • only flirts with the idealist vision of a perfect world beyond the material • "Birches" ◦ speaker only wants to go to heaven ◦ heaven is separate William Carlos Williams • critiques modernism through modernism • American environment with everyday American language • poetry should deal with things, not abstractions • response to imagism ◦ went in fear of abstractions ◦ i.e. "Red Wheelbarrow" • experimentation with line and stanza length • juxtaposition of red wheelbarrow and white chickens • "so much depends upon" ◦ sets up the image ◦ almost seems mocking or sarcastic when placed beside such banal images like the red wheelbarrow ◦ mocks how much pressure readers have to read the images in an imagist poem • "Queen-Anne's-Lace" ◦ is it a flower, or a woman? ◦ if flower, it is a multiplying flower • slipping metaphor ◦ language can mean more than one thing ◦ either gives you the total transformation, or nothing at all Group Work • Wallace Stevens' poem "Of Modern Poetry" was written in 1942, after the heyday of high modernism. With a partner, discuss Stevens' poem. What does it tell us about modernism and
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