Imagism & the Imagists: A Study in Modern Poetry

Imagism & the Imagists: A Study in Modern Poetry

Imagism & the Imagists: A Study in Modern Poetry

Imagism & the Imagists: A Study in Modern Poetry

Excerpt

It may be, as W. B. Yeats once said in my hearing, that, "The only real Imagist was the Creator of the Garden of Eden." This book, however, is about a group of modern poets who have called themselves imagists, and who, by means of their poetry and propaganda, have created a considerable impression on the reading public and on many other writers. Imagism, I think, may be characterized as the best-organized and most influential "movement" in English poetry since the activity of the pre-Raphaelites; and although it is still operating dynamically, its propaganda is completed, its illustrative poems have been officially admitted to standard anthologies, and the storm of criticism which it aroused has subsided.

It seemed to me, when I undertook this study, that a certain advantage can be obtained by chronicling a literary movement soon after its climax, before the principal participants forget the motives and the events essential to it. I still believe, having completed my work, that there is much to be said in favor of this idea. I am greatly impressed, however, with the fact that, whereas one acquires by this method of approach unusual insight into motives, as well as much valuable data which might later prove unavailable, one is sorely hampered by convention and a sense of personal decency which do not permit the setting down of a large number of facts (chiefly . . .

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