Edwardian and Georgian Poetry
Modern poetry came into being not out of a manifesto not the inauguration of a new school of writing but out of a revolution of ideas both about the outer world and about the world of the self. It began with Edwardian and Georgian poetry.
Edwardian Poetry- In a review of modern English poetry, Edwardians claim attention first. Kipling, Bennett, de La Mare, Masefield and Yeats stand in the forefront of Edwardian poetry. Of course they did not solve difficulties, whether social, political or introspective, but they helped to view them impersonally and yet practically, under the influence of contemporary ideas. These poets continued in the old tradition; none of them founded a school. They kept to 19th century methods. They were well-advised to do so, because behind and around them there was a body of traditionalists, less inspired and less creative, but never the less sufficiently influential to sustain public opinion. The Edwardian age is in the main an age of criticism, of questioning and of refusal to accept established institutions. From another point of view Edwardian age appears as a time of great prosperity and glitter, of social stability and spacious case, the halcyon period before storm.
Georgians- The new school of English poets started in England with the publication of five volumes called “Georgian Poetry” (between 1912-1922) containing works by forty poets who supported the movement at various times during that period. Their leader was Edward Marsh. Among the promoters of the neo-Georgians were Rupert Brooke, Harold Monro, John Drinkwater, W.W. Gibson and others; Ralph Hodgson soon joined the movement, with James Stephen and John freeman. The movement came to represent an attempt to break away completely from whatever might be Victorian in outlook or manner, while remaining true to the main tradition of the poetry.
The main body of the Georgians tradition proper might be described as quietest or Pietist. It was quite, intimate, and not ambitious. It dealt with familiar sights and scenes of English country life. Many of the Georgians were pastoral writers, whose vaguely pantheistic attitude to the English scene seemed to make it less dull than one imagines it to have been. Drinkwater, W.H. Davies and Edward Thomas, all did excellent work in this tradition. Wordsworth might be regarded as the great grandfather of Georgians. The temperamental endowment of a nature poet in England is a queer blend of pantheism and pietism. God, for Drinkwater and Gibson, was ‘a kindly and friendly figure who probably tweeds and smoked a pipe.’ He was not a Jehovah. Among the pietists Edmund Blunden, Edward Thomas contented themselves with localities and atmospheres. Nature was good enough for them. It is perhaps the limitations of their intention and predisposition that has made them so often a target of satire.
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