Dear David,Where did Nicholson say this? I'm on a new project, and I would very much like to read this in context. Can you send a citation?Thanks,Nancy>>> mikemail 12/02/12 12:46 PM >>>
Congratulations to Judith,David. I'm sure the course was most gratifying.
----- Original Message -----
From: David Boyd
Sent: 12/02/12 01:32 PM
Subject: Re: T.S. Eliot's Anti-Modernism: Poetry and Tradition
Absolutely agree: I count myself very fortunate indeed many years ago to have been taught by the UK Open University's estimable team who compiled their original 'Twentieth Century Poetry' Course (D306), a key part of which was devoted to lengthy and wideranging discussion of 'Modernism' and all the uses and abuses and half-truths etc implied by this very imprecise term, etc etcJewel Spears Brooker a few years ago delivered a fascinating lecture to the UK TSE Society etc Little Gidding Festival, in which she reviewed all the similarities she saw - as well as the obvious dichotomies - between Eliot and Wordsworth. From memory, one major similarity, she argued, lay in their shared propensity for strongly-dialectical argument and expression.Very strange bedfellows, on the face of it, but, beneath that, further illustration (to use Nancy's most helpful distinction) of Eliot's acute modernity, but not of his modernism. I know I'm always banging-on about Norman Nicholson, but I was somewhat, as they say, gobsmacked, to discover that he himself had made similar connections in 1948! - crudely pasted, as follows:-
........Mr Eliot had burst through the seams of a
worn-out and shabby diction - this had been done before.
Wordsworth had done the same thing for his generation by
relating poetic diction to common speech. Moreover
succeeded better than anyone before or since because
he had a wonderful sense for those words which are so
essential, so basic to the language and the emotions, that they
scarcely change their significance from age to age. If you
examine the poems like the
Matthew and the Lucy series you
will find that hardly a word he uses has become debased in
meaning. Mr Eliot, however, related poetry not so much to
common speech (though he made some experiments in that
line in his dramatic works and monologues) but to that great
commerce of language from which the modern reader draws
his vocabulary - slang, journalism, literature and every other
possible source. The result was that in these earlier poems he
did not so much create a poetic diction as make it possible for
other poets to create theirs......
Sadly, the OU's Twentieth Century Poetry Course has long ago been subsumed by more general 'Literature' courses, but I was very pleased to note that similar things are afoot across the www - see attached, which my partner recently very much enjoyed (I drag her to Eliotic events, so that's made her want to learn more...). I did find it very odd, though, that Eliot was largely excluded - for being UnAmerican, presumably........