Edwardian Poetry

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The poets writing in the first years of the twentieth century have commonly been discussed in isolation. In Edwardian Poetry Kenneth Millard considers together seven poets, Henry Newbolt, John Masefield, Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, A. E. Housman, John Davidson, and Rupert Brooke, and argues that their work is worthy of more serious critical attention than it has previously received. Through an analysis of numerous individual poems, Millard isolates certain common concerns: the changing and perhaps fading value of England; a distrust of the medium of language itself; a distrust also of the creative imagination. In its reassessment of these poets, the book provides a literary context for their work, finding in it a kind of pre-War modern British poetry distinct from the Modernism of subsequent decades. In establishing a literary context for the poetry of this century's first decade the book offers an important revision of modern literary history and points towards an alternative line in twentieth-century British poetry that culminates in the work of Philip Larkin.