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Loose Women and Lonely Lambs: The Rise and Fall of Georgian Poetry

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Abstract

The Georgian poets, a sadly pedestrian rabble, flocked along the roads their fathers had built, pointing out to each other beauty spots and ostentatiously drinking small-beer in a desperate attempt toprove their virility. The winds blew, thefloods came: fora moment afew of them showed on the crest of the seventh great wave; then they were rolled under and nothing marks their graue.1

Keywords

Actual Emotion Instructive Explanation True Achievement British Poetry Prefatory Note 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    C. Day Lewis, A Hope for Poetry (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1934) p. 2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John Press, A Map of Modern English Verse (London: Oxford University Press, 1969) p. 105.Google Scholar
  3. Edith C. Batho and Bonamy Dobree, The Victorians and After (London: Cresset Press, 1950) p. 72.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    John H. Johnston, English Poetry of the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964) p. 28.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    John Middleton Murry, ‘The Condition of English Poetry’, The Athenaeum, 5 December 1919, pp. 1238–5; reprinted in Georgian Poetry 1912–1922: The Critical Heritage, ed. by Timothy Rogers (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977) pp. 231–7 (p. 232).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    John Middleton Murry, ‘The Condition of English Poetry’, The Athenaeum, 5 December 1919, pp. 1238–5; reprinted in Georgian Poetry 1912–1922: The Critical Heritage, ed. by Timothy Rogers (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977) pp. 231–7 (p. 232).Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    F. R. Leavis, New Bearings in English Poetry (London: Chatto & Windus, 1932) p. 66.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    The clearest indication of this marginalisation is the current unavailability of anthologies of Georgian poetry. Two previous collections — Georgian Poets, ed. by Alan Pryce-Jones (London: Edward Hulton, 1959) and Georgian Poetry, ed. by James Reeves (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1962) — are now both out of print.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    The clearest indication of this marginalisation is the current unavailability of anthologies of Georgian poetry. Two previous collections — Georgian Poets, ed. by Alan Pryce-Jones (London: Edward Hulton, 1959) and Georgian Poetry, ed. by James Reeves (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1962) — are now both out of print.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Robert H. Ross, The Georgian Revolt: Rise and Fall of a Poetic Ideal (London: Faber and Faber, 1965) p. 15.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Myron Simon, The Georgian Poetic (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975) p. 1.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    C. K. Stead, The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot (London: Hutchinson, 1964) p. 81.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    The most detailed account of the history of the Georgian Poetry series can be found in Ross, op. cit. For an account of Edward Marsh’s life and times, see Christopher Hassall, Edward Marsh: Patron of the Arts (London: Longmans, 1959).Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    See his letter of 8 January 1918 to Leslie Gunston: ‘We Georgians are all so old.’, in Wilfred Owen: Collected Letters, ed. by Harold Owen and John Bell (London: Oxford University Press, 1967) p. 526. Also of interest is his letter of 31 December 1917 to his mother: ‘I am held peer by the Georgians; I am a poet’s poet’ (p. 521).Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    Arthur Waugh, ‘The New Poetry’, Quarterly Review, October 1916, pp. 365–86; reprinted in Rogers, op. cit., pp. 139–59 (p. 143).Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    T. S. Eliot, ‘Verse Pleasant and Unpleasant’, The Egoist, March 1918, pp. 43–4; summarised in detail, because of copyright complications, in Rogers, op. cit., pp. 213–15 (p. 215).Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    Harold Monro, Some Contemporary Poets (London: Leonard Parsons, 1920) p. 150.Google Scholar
  18. 27.
    D. H. Lawrence, ‘The Georgian Renaissance’, Rhythm, March 1913, pp. xvii-xx; reprinted in Rogers, op. cit., pp. 102–5 (p. 102).Google Scholar
  19. 29.
    Henry Newbolt, ‘The Vigil’, Poems: New and Old, 2nd edn (London: John Murray, 1919) pp. 97–8 (p. 97).Google Scholar
  20. 31.
    Robert Graves, The Common Asphodel: Collected Essays on Poetry 1922–1949 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1949) pp. 112–13. 32. The term is borrowed from the title of Ross’s book.Google Scholar
  21. 33.
    William Wordsworth, Preface, Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads, ed. by R. L. Brett and A. R. Jones, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 1991) p. 241. 34. Ibid., p. 249.Google Scholar
  22. 36.
    William York Tyndall, Forces in Modern British Literature (New York: Vintage, 1947) pp. 372–3.Google Scholar
  23. 37.
    Alfred Austin, ‘Why England is Conservative’, Lyrical Poems, 2nd edn (London: Macmillan, 1896) pp. 116–17 (p. 116).Google Scholar
  24. Anon., ‘Georgian Poetry’, Times Literary Supplement, 27 February 1913, pp. 81–2; reprinted in Rogers, op. cit., pp. 77–84 (p. 81).Google Scholar
  25. 40.
    Edmund Gosse, ‘Knocking at the Door’, Morning Post, 27 January 1913, p. 3; reprinted in Rogers, op. cit., pp. 73–7 (p. 75).Google Scholar
  26. 44.
    Rupert Brooke, letter to Edward Marsh, 22 December 1911; in The Letters of Rupert Brooke, ed. by Geoffrey Keynes (London: Faber and Faber, 1968) p. 328.Google Scholar
  27. 51.
    Gary Day, ‘The Poets: Georgians, Imagists and Others’, Literature and Culture in Modern Britain, ed. by C. Bloom (London and New York: Longman, 1993) pp. 30–54, see esp. p. 34.Google Scholar
  28. 55.
    Wilfred Owen, ‘Exposure’, The Poems of Wilfred Owen, ed. by Jon Stallworthy (London: Hogarth Press, 1985) p. 162.Google Scholar
  29. 57.
    The most detailed account of Squire and his literary activities is Patrick Howarth, Squire : ‘Most Generous of Men’ (London: Hutchinson, 1963).Google Scholar
  30. 58.
    J. C. Squire, Prefatory Note, Selections from Modern Poets, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1921) pp. v–vii. The other two anthologies were Second Selections from Modern Poets, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1924) and Younger Poets of To-Day, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1932).Google Scholar
  31. J. C. Squire, Prefatory Note, Selections from Modern Poets, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1921) pp. v–vii. The other two anthologies were Second Selections from Modern Poets, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1924) and Younger Poets of To-Day, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1932).Google Scholar
  32. J. C. Squire, Prefatory Note, Selections from Modern Poets, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1921) pp. v–vii. The other two anthologies were Second Selections from Modern Poets, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1924) and Younger Poets of To-Day, ed. by J. C. Squire (London: Martin Secker, 1932).Google Scholar
  33. 60.
    Ivor Gurney, ‘To His Love’, Wars Embers (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1919) p. 45; reprinted in Severn & Somme and Wars Embers, ed. by R. K. R. Thornton (Ashington and Manchester: Mid Northumberland Arts Group and Carcanet, 1987) p. 76.Google Scholar
  34. 60.
    Ivor Gurney, ‘To His Love’, Wars Embers (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1919) p. 45; reprinted in Severn & Somme and Wars Embers, ed. by R. K. R. Thornton (Ashington and Manchester: Mid Northumberland Arts Group and Carcanet, 1987) p. 76.Google Scholar
  35. 61.
    Ivor Gurney, ‘Smudgy Dawn’, Second Selections from Modern Poets, op. cit., p. 221; reprinted in Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney, ed. by P. J. Kavanagh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982) p. 143.Google Scholar
  36. 61.
    Ivor Gurney, ‘Smudgy Dawn’, Second Selections from Modern Poets, op. cit., p. 221; reprinted in Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney, ed. by P. J. Kavanagh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982) p. 143.Google Scholar
  37. 62.
    For details of Gurney’s life and work, see Michael Hurd, The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  38. 63.
    Squire continued to print his poems in the London Mercury, but to little avail. Similarly, two posthumous collections of his verse — Poems by Ivor Gurney, ed. by Edmund Blunden (London: Hutchinson, 1954) and Poems of Ivor Gurney 1890–1937, ed. by Leonard Clark (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973) — were largely ignored upon their appearance. It is only since the publication of Hurd’s biography and Kavanagh’s edition of his poems that Gurney’s unique qualities have been recognised.Google Scholar
  39. Squire continued to print his poems in the London Mercury, but to little avail. Similarly, two posthumous collections of his verse — Poems by Ivor Gurney, ed. by Edmund Blunden (London: Hutchinson, 1954) and Poems of Ivor Gurney 1890–1937, ed. by Leonard Clark (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973) — were largely ignored upon their appearance. It is only since the publication of Hurd’s biography and Kavanagh’s edition of his poems that Gurney’s unique qualities have been recognised.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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