The New Era in American Poetry

Excerpt

To many, the title of this volume may need not only an introduction but an explanation. The change which has come upon all the arts with surprising suddenness seems imperceptible to them. But the strange growth is here. And the questionable fact of a new spirit is answered with sharp affirmation when we examine this curious budding, and find that it is national. For the first time, a great part of American letters is actually American. We have had, of course, music, art and literature in this country before. But it has not been, as a rule, a native growth; it has merely been transplanted and produced here. Only in a geographical sense could it be considered American. Until recently our paintings had filled endless galleries with placid arrangements of Greek nudes, Italian skies and French theories. Our sculpture was mainly a set of variations of George Washington in a toga and Daniel Webster in baggy, bronze trousers. Our architecture had expressed itself in long rows of English basement houses, placing miniature Egyptian obelisks on top of office buildings and trying to make our libraries, motion-picture "palaces," and terminals look like the Campanile, the Parthenon, and the baths of Caracalla. Our music, up to the last two decades, had been a series of sentimentalized echoes of the least original of Europeans; stale drippings adulterated and sweetened by drawing-room Moodys and Sankeys--while our . . .

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1919

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