The Present Age in British Literature

The Present Age in British Literature

The Present Age in British Literature

The Present Age in British Literature

Excerpt

This book deals with the British literary scene, and the American reader will find some things familiar and some unfamiliar. The account of the general background, presented in Chapter I, concentrates on the effects on British culture of the Second World War and its aftermath, and such matters as the economic position of the young writer, the state of the literary magazine, and the influence of the British Broadcasting Corporation, belong to the purely British phenomena discussed. On the other hand, the revolution in poetic taste and technique discussed in Chapter II was an Anglo-American phenomenon which cannot be adequately discussed in terms of only the British or only the American situation. The Imagist movement was begun in London by a group of British and American writers and developed simultaneously in America. The symbol of Anglo- American co-operation here is contained in the fact that the movement was first adequately reported by two poets, one American and one English, both writing from London in a Chicago magazine. The activities of Eliot and Pound in London were followed with equal excitement by the avant garde on both sides of the Atlantic. And if the English critics I. A. Richards and F. R. Leavis pioneered in the development of attitudes and techniques appropriate to the literature which the poetic revolution produced, their work was extended, refined, systematized, and elaborated by generations of devoted American critics who have explored the implications of that revolution to a greater degree than any British writer has done. New movements in fiction, too, were watched and commented on with eager interest in America, where the little magazines of the 1920s kept a close eye on Eliot, Joyce, and others. Ulysses was serialized in Margaret . . .

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