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Modernist?



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What on earth is Yeats doing in with that motley crew of yours? He was the
greatest English-language poet of the 20th century, as I have argued at
length.

And so far as the modernists were concerned, he was pretty much on my side
of the argument:

“Yeats’s ideas about other people’s poetry were expressed in his
introduction to the 1936 Oxford Book of Modern Verse, and embodied in his
selections for that anthology. He quoted with approval Goethe’s remark that
’the poet needs all philosophy but must keep it out of his work.’ He was an
unapologetic romantic: ‘[N]othing is poetry that does not run in one’s head
because of the sweetness or majesty of the sound. Owing to the struggle for
new subject matter the younger poets today lack that sound.’ The Oxford
anthology contains nothing from ‘Prufrock’ or The Waste Land, a decision
that seemed outrageous to many at the time, but which I think looks less so
now, and will look much less so still after another 67 years.”



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