Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the interactions of modern American poetry with mass culture. Mass culture is considered in two senses: first as collective spectacle or performance experienced in spaces of commodified amusement, then as semiotic and textual phenomena, advertisements above all, that interpellate modern subjects for the ideological project of corporate capitalism. It surveys work by a variety of poets in order to show that this engagement with mass culture was no tangent limited to the work of a few oddballs or specialists, but was a pervasive dimension of American poetry during these decades. The entire careers of several significant poets—not only Williams and Fearing but Carl Sandburg, Vachel Lindsay, Langston Hughes, and Muriel Rukeyser—can be framed as attempts to articulate a productive relationship with the forms and meanings of modern mass culture. The same could be said for significant parts of other careers, including those of Eliot, Pound, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Archibald MacLeish, whose turns toward and away from radio at particular historical and personal junctures reveal the inescapable role mass culture played in their poetics. Still others, particularly Lindsay, Sandburg, Millay, and Robert Frost, created iconic public personae that challenged the boundaries between literary art and mass culture.

Keywords: collective spectacle, performance, semiotic phenomena, textual phenomena, corporate capitalism, American poetry

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.