From Outlaw to Classic: Canons in American Poetry by Alan Golding PDF

By Alan Golding

ISBN-10: 0299146006

ISBN-13: 9780299146009

This paintings offers a sweeping background of the forces that experience formed, and proceed to form, the yankee poetry canon.

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That poetry now showed "a more enlightened recognition of the international scope ... of the great art of poetry," and its contributions were making poetry in English "less provincial, more cosmopolitan" (xii). A few years later, however, "Mr. J. C. Squire ... asserted the general English attitude by including not a single American poet among the forty-six British in his anthology Selections from Modern Poets" (3d ed. Ii). In her second and third editions (1923 and 1932), therefore, Monroe combatively revived the old war with English poetry, claiming that the traditional relationship between American and English poetry was now reversed so that "as American poetry ceases to be colonial, much British poetry seems, by comparison, provincial": At last [American poetry] begins to be continental in scope; to express the immense differences of climate, landscape, and racial and cultural environment, in this majestically vast and bewilderingly mixed nation.

I do not mean to suggest that the identity-based anthology, which typically gathers the work of a particular social group on the basis of ethnic, class, gender, or sexual identity, ignores questions of aesthetics or cannot include aesthetically innovative work. Nor is it the case that the anthology of experimental writing cannot be socially inclusive. At the same time, depending on the anthology's intended function, the editor will foreground principles of aesthetics or of social identity; the issue is one of emphasis.

Read widely, Griswold's anthology became very influential. It went through seventeen editions in fourteen years, and Stoddard was still refining it in 1872. Frank Luther Mott counts it one of the best-selling books of the 1840s (Golden Multitudes 307). The anthology achieved this popularity and influence through its combination of nationalist fervor and moral weight-a combination that captured precisely what its readers looked for in their poetry-and through Griswold's ability to reflect both popular and critical taste.

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From Outlaw to Classic: Canons in American Poetry by Alan Golding


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