An Epilogue on Modernism
Over the preceding chapters broods one unanswered question: where do the texts discussed and the varieties of structural ambivalence and linguistic collapse they manifest stand in relation to European Modernism? Conventional wisdom places each one at a difference distance from the central tenets of the movement. Lawrence, as the only contributor to both Imagist and Georgian anthologies, is seen alternately as a Modernist, because of his concerns with human relationships or the structural patterns of his poetry, or as part of the great line of Puritan sensuality that stretches from medieval mysticism to Milton, Wordsworth, Blake and beyond. Forster is part of the tradition of English Liberal Humanism, honorably discharged from service in the Modernist ranks because of his intellectual strength and impersonality. Thomas’s poetry is seen either as a continuation of the line of English meditative poetry or — increasingly — as a key element in the growth of nature writing; Owen (until very recently) and Sassoon (still) are figures regarded more in the light of history than literature. Yet if all of these exemplify the kinds of structural denials and instabilities discussed in the previous chapters, how may they stand in relation to what for many years was seen as the major direction of English writing of the century’s earlier years, and which is still today regarded as a movement of no little force and influence?
KeywordsPerson Plural English Writing Preceding Chapter Narrative Voice Tural Denial
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