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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The post-war period in British poetry begins with a kind of ending: the publication of the last book of H.D.’s Trilogy in 1946. This book, which reflects on her experience of the London Blitz, reveals that modern society has forgotten the ancient myths which enshrine the power of poetry. Modernists in Britain and Ireland continue to adhere to this characteristic belief, but they do not conform to a simplistic understanding of modernism as cosompolitan. The Irish poets Thomas MacGreevy, Brian Coffey, and Denis Devlin nurture a specific Irish sensibility, even as they explore its kinship with European modernism. In Britain, Basil Bunting, David Jones, and Hugh MacDiarmid offer different versions of modernism as localism: venerable truths are to be found in the direct experience of the region or the nation. Jones and Bunting render that experience in immediate and imagistic terms, while they simultaneously evoke its ancient roots. MacDiarmid, by contrast, offers a connected, discursive, modernism in conformity with a Marxist sense of historical explanation: one that foregrounds also its own textuality in a manner both modernist and historically informed. But this too rests on a discovery of the universal in the local.

Keywords: modernism, late modernism, regional, national, Irish poetry, British poetry, post-war

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