Raymond Macdonald Alden

 

 

The New Poetry.

 

Text
Editionsbericht
Literatur
Literatur: "1913"

 

TO the EDITOR of THE NATION:

SIR: In various current discussions of the work of the cubist and futurist painters it has been remarked that there are signs of similar efforts in the field of literary composition. Thoughtful observers are beginning to be conscious that in poetry as in music, the principles of Futurism have come to be accepted in theory and attempted in practice by a significantly respectable number of persons, and that their effect upon the present and future of these arts cannot be left without consideration. In saying this I do not venture to assume any complete understanding of what the principles in question are. Judged by their fruits, however, they may be summed up under the several formulæ which students of literary history recognize in connection with the familiar types of the morbid hypertrophy of romanticism – for example, these: (1) the exaggeration of the importance of a personal emotion; (2) the abandonment of all standards of form, and (3) the suppression of all evidence that a particular com[387]position is animated by any directing intelligence.

These remarks are suggested by a rather painful bit of recent evidence in the field of poetry. A year ago there appeared a new periodical, called Poetry, a Magazine of Verse, which was heralded as an organ which should at once prove that poetry still lives in these United States and help to make it live the more. It was said to be endowed; it was to pay all contributors; it was to emanate from Chicago – all these things suggested a fine hopeful vigor. A year has passed, and the magazine has seemed, on the whole, to maintain the hopes it excited; it has, at least, been able to present a considerable amount of new poetry from writers both known and unknown. But at the end of the twelvemonth the editor expresses some discouragement with the offerings that have come to view. The causes of this discouragement deserve attention. The young poets, it seems, are "pathetically ingenuous" in their attitude; they seem "as unaware of the twentieth century as if they had spent these recent years in an Elizabethan manor-house or a vine-clad Victorian cottage." And by this it is not meant that they are not alive to the current interests of the race, but that they write "in old forms which have been worn thin by five centuries," instead of forging new "chains for the English language," as if it had never before been subdued to poetry. Even Mr. Alfred Noyes tries to keep alive epic and ballad measures, and even Mr. Masefield swings into the stride of Byronic verse. The younger generation, we may infer, has not yet been made suffciently immune to the stimuli of the poetry of the past. They cannot, to be sure, read Greek – there is no complaint of sapphics and hexameters, as there would have been in other days – but they do seem still to read their Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Tennyson, and to have lighted their fire from these poets, instead of viewing them as a builder of a modern casino ought to view "an Elizabethan manor-house or a vine-clad Victorian cottage."

In order that we may be in no doubt as to what the editor of Poetry welcomes, in contrast to these trite effusions, the same number gives more than half of its poetic pages to a collection of what may safely be called futurist verses. They open thus:

Will people accept them? (i. e., these songs);

they refer with elaborate indecorousness to the reporters, professors, and pretty ladies who will not accept them; they flaunt occasional indecencies which are at once harmless and inexcusable, because unconnected with passion; they are guiltless of form, as form is known to masters or students of the art of poetry – in short, they exhibit with wanton richness all the signs of what I have called the morbid hypertrophy of romanticism. That they are not without certain merits is not to the point just here.

I am firmly of the opinion that the morbid banalities of Futurism are better ignored than attacked, and should not think of addressing this letter either to the editor or the constituency of Poetry. But for those of us interested in the present state of the arts, and still in allegiance also to the old laws, it cannot fail to be a matter of concern that the younger generation, aspiring – as always – to do for us what others have done for other ages, should be nurtured in part upon the undoubtedly sincere nonsense of the editorial I have outlinded, and probably insincere nonsense of the verses that form its background; There is a moral here, of some sort, for all who can exert any influence upon the young. As I have already hinted, I do not think it is to the effect that we should raise the cry against the false prophets and their art – "Tear them! Ho! fire-brands! Burn all!" – but rather that we should renew our energies in teaching the right principles on which all true art is founded, and so enable our children to test and throw aside the products of distorted imaginations, even if they are fascinatingly novel and full of color and noise.

I have one other humble aim in writing this letter. Being at present an eligible witness from the great Middle West whence the magazine Poetry arises, I wish to offer my testimony that hereabouts, as elsewhere, the old poetry is still what is wanted by the two kinds of readers that alone count in the long run; the great mass of the plain people, and the great mass of the truly cultivated – the readers and teachers of literature. When Mr. Noyes was lately here, his Elizabethan ballads and Victorian lyrics were received with really notable enthusiasm – not because he is a great poet (whether he is or no is not implied), but because he speaks the language, metrical, emotional, and ethical, of our race. If the contributor to Poetry were to appear among us, urging his songs to

Dance and make people blush,

without the riot of advertising which preceded the paintings of the kindred school, his work would also attract two classes of admirers, but two classes which are fortunately small in number – the frankly lascivious and the devotees of art nouveau. "So hath it been, so be it." whether in the vicinity of Chicago or the antipodes.

 

 

 

 

Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

The Nation.
A Weekly Journal.
Devoted to Politics, Literature, Science, Drama, Music, Art, and Finance
Bd. 96, 1913, Nr. 2494, 17. April, S. 386-387.

Gezeichnet: Raymond Macdonald Alden.
The University of Illinois, March 11.

Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).


The Nation   online
URL: http://www.unz.org/Pub/Nation/
URL: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000495577
URL: http://opacplus.bsb-muenchen.de/title/339701-4
URL: https://digipress.digitale-sammlungen.de/calendar/newspaper/bsbmult00000681

 

 

 

Literatur

Alden, Raymond Macdonald (Hrsg.): English Verse. Specimens Illustrating its Principles and History. New York 1903.
URL: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000915532
URL: https://archive.org/details/englishversespe00aldegoog

Brandmeyer, Rudolf: Poetiken der Lyrik: Von der Normpoetik zur Autorenpoetik. In: Handbuch Lyrik. Theorie, Analyse, Geschichte. Hrsg. von Dieter Lamping. 2. Aufl. Stuttgart 2016, S. 2-15.

Carr, Helen: Poetry: A Magazine of Verse (1912-36), 'Biggest of Little Magazines'. In: The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Hrsg. von Peter Brooker u.a. Bd. 2: North America 1894-1960. Oxford 2012, S. 40-60.

Ehlers, Sarah: Making It Old. The Victorian/Modern Divide in Twentieth-Century American Poetry. In: Modern Language Quarterly 73.1 (2012), S. 7-67.

Harrington, Joseph: Poetry and the Public. The Social Form of Modern U.S. Poetics. Middletown, Conn. 2002.

Newcomb, John T.: How Did Poetry Survive? The Making of Modern American Verse. Urbana, Ill. u.a. 2012.

Newcomb, John T.: The Emergence of "The New Poetry". In: The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Poetry. Hrsg. von Walter Kalaidjian. Cambridge 2015, S. 11-22.

Schrader, Richard J.: Raymond Macdonald Alden. In: The Hoosier House. Bobbs-Merrill and Its Predecessors, 1850-1985. A Documentary Volume. Hrsg. von Richard J. Schrader. Detroit, MI 2004, S. 193-195.

 

 

Literatur:"1913"

Asendorf, Christoph: Widersprüchliche Optionen: Stationen der Künste 1913. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.1 (2013), S. 191–206.

Berranger, Marie-Paule:"À quoi bon les poètes en ces temps de détresse?". In: 1913: cent ans après. Enchantements et désenchantements. Hrsg. von Colette Camelin u. Marie-Paule Berranger. Paris 2015 (= Collection: Colloque de Cerisy), S. 289-324.

Brion-Guerry, Liliane (Hrsg.): L'année 1913. Les formes esthétiques de l'œuvre d'art à la veille de la première guerre mondiale. 3 Bde. Paris 1971/73.
Bd. 3 (1973): Manifestes et témoignages.

Camelin, Colette / Berranger, Marie-Paule (Hrsg.): 1913: cent ans après. Enchantements et désenchantements. Paris 2015 (= Collection: Colloque de Cerisy).

Chickering, Roger: Das Jahr 1913. Ein Kommentar. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 39.1 (2014), S. 137-143.

Dowden, Stephen D.: Vienna 1913: dans le vrai. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.2 (2013), S. 452-468.

Emmerson, Charles: 1913. In Search for the World before the Great War. New York 2013.

Erhart, Walter: Literatur 1913. Zeit ohne Geschichte? Perspektiven synchronoptischer Geschichtsschreibung. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 39.1 (2014), S. 123-136.

Hamburger, Michael: 1912. In: Ders., Reason and Energy. Studies in German Literature. London 1957, S. 213-236.

Hübinger, Gangolf: Das Jahr 1913 in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Zur Einführung in den Themenschwerpunkt. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.1 (2013), S. 172-190.

Illies, Florian: 1913. Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts. Frankfurt a.M. 2015 (= Fischer-TaschenBibliothek).

Jauß, Hans R.: Die Epochenschwelle von 1912: Guillaume Apollinaires 'Zone' und 'Lundi Rue Christine'. In: Ders., Studien zum Epochenwandel der ästhetischen Moderne. Frankfurt a.M. 1989 (= suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, 864), S. 216-256.

Johnson, J. Theodore: The Year 1913: An Interdisciplinary Course. In: Teaching Literature and Other Arts. Hrsg. von Jean-Pierre Barricelli u.a. New York 1990, S. 108-115.

Klausnitzer, Ralf:"Literarische Kunst". Richard Moritz Meyers Beobachtungen des Jahres 1913 und die Gegenwart der Vergangenheit. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.2 (2013), S. 514-539.

Kushner, Marilyn S. u.a. (Hrsg.): The Armory Show at 100. Modernism and Revolution. London 2013.

Mares, Detlev u.a. (Hrsg.): Das Jahr 1913. Aufbrüche und Krisenwahrnehmungen am Vorabend des Ersten Weltkriegs. Bielefeld 2014.

McFarland, Philip James: 1913. Reflections on a Number. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 39.1 (2014), S. 144-150.

Rabaté, Jean-Michel: 1913. The Cradle of Modernism. Malden, MA 2007.

Sautermeister, Gert: Kultur und Literatur in Deutschland und Bremen um 1913. In: Bremisches Jahrbuch 93 (2014), S. 105-120.

Schaefer, Barbara (Hrsg.): 1912 – Mission Moderne. Die Jahrhundertschau des Sonderbundes. Köln 2012.

Werner, Meike G.: Warum 1913? Zur Fortsetzung des Themenschwerpunkts"Das Jahr 1913 in Geschichte und Gegenwart". In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.2 (2013), S. 443–451.

 

 

Edition
Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer