The Melody of Chaos

The Melody of Chaos

The Melody of Chaos

The Melody of Chaos

Excerpt

While completing a few years ago Havelock Ellis: Philosopher of Love, which might have been called "a study in serenity," I decided to write a contrasting study in complexity and chaos, with the poetry of Conrad Aiken as my point of departure and principal theme. As Ellis's work represented for me the highest spiritual achievement of the previous generation, the writings of Aiken seemed to embody the present sense of confusion, helplessness, despair. The task was particularly attractive three years ago because Aiken's poetry had never been widely appreciated, but I can no longer maintain a prophetic air as he has recently received the Pulitzer prize!

Shortly after planning this book I chanced to meet Conrad Aiken in Boston. Since then we have become close friends and I have been able to call upon him constantly for information in regard to his work.

I am also indebted to V. J. McGill and Angel Flores for valuable criticism. Max Eastman and William B. Sewell were kind enough to read several chapters. And Charles Scribner's Sons have allowed me to quote at large from Aiken's work.

HOUSTON PETERSON

February 11, 1931 New York City . . .

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