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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay considers the early twentieth-century London avant-garde, concentrating specifically on the early poetics of T. E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, and their circle. In calling for experimentation with ‘regular’ forms and a new modern mode of composition, these avant-gardistes sought to capture the changing ‘spirit’ of their time, which, they felt, existing forms and techniques could no longer accommodate. What unites the different avant-garde practices of the time is the belief that poetry (art in general) ought to spearhead all means of communication. This conviction underlies the avant-garde distinction between ‘prose’ (or conventional language) and ‘poetry’ (direct, immediate, language), an opposition which, in turn, at least in the case of Hulme and Pound, carries severe ideological implications.

Keywords: T. E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, Imagism, Vorticism, Henri Bergson, Isaiah Berlin

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