The Corner

Modernist Wars

I’m going to take up the Everett Dirksen strategy: declare victory and

withdraw. The belief that Eliot and the rest are worth reading for purposes

other than the passing of examinations is so deeply rooted in the

college-educated American mind, I see no hope of eradicating it. I think we

just have to write this off as a species of national eccentricity, like the

Japanese taste for rotted seaweed or the French scorn for deodorant. The

entirely bogus quality of “modernist” verse must be so apparent to anyone

whose mind has not been poisoned by exposure to academic Eng Lit studies,

that those who are blind to it should be pitied, not mocked. I therefore

close these exchanges in a spirit of charity and forbearance.

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