Sunday, February 03, 2019

MacLeish Moves Away From Imagism and Modernism

As the title already reveals, MacLeish forsakes Imagism and Modernism, which I show below, including the influence of Milton:
But MacLeish moved far from this conception of poetry, so far in mixing literature with politics that Joe Luna accuses him of being President Roosevelt's "stooge" for his propaganda work in the FDR administration (Luna, Autumn 2016, 119). Edmund Wilson called him a charlatan. Barber criticizes him for having misused "the podium of public office attempting to coerce the image makers: poets and artists and historians and journalists and film makers, into supporting his position." MacLeish responded that he was merely exhorting his fellow Americans to envision "a good idea of themselves," and "he continued to seek a modern Dante to give our age its motivating vision" (Barber, Fall 1988) Some of his opponents thought that he put himself in that role, and he may have done so. Amy Lowell, however, preferred MacLeish as a different poet, but he would need real "gusto," that is, he would need to be "some poet of grit and brawn, some prophet of grandeur and laughter, some cross between John Milton and Ogden Nash, to tell us the whole truth and save the world" (Lowell, 1931, 155). Morton Dauen Zabel thought that the onset of World War II gave MacLeish "his chance to impress on his fellow-citizens the fact that a Milton not only should be living in this hour but by miraculous good fortune is" ("The Poet on Capitol Hill," 4).

Barber, David. Fall 1988. "In Search of an 'Image of Mankind': The Public Poetry and Prose of Archibald MacLeish." 29 American Studies. 3(i), 36.

Lowell, Amy. 1931. “Comment: Archibald MacLeish,” Poetry 38.

Luna, Joe. Autumn 2016. "Space | Poetry." Critical Inquiry. 43.

Zabel, Morton Dauen. 1941. “The Poet on Capitol Hill,” Partisan Review. 8.
I'm soon getting into more Milton stuff, which will get very interesting, at least for me, and I hope I can make good progress.

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At 9:30 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Yes, very interesting. The entire LacLeish thread you have going is fascinating. Thanks.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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