George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism

Paperback | April 21, 2013

byPeter Nicholls

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Regard for George Oppen's poetry has been growing steadily over the last decade. Peter Nicholls's study offers a timely opportunity to engage with a body of work which can be both luminously simple and intriguingly opaque. Nicholls charts Oppen's commitment to Marxism and his laterexplorations of a "poetics of being" inspired by Heidegger and Existentialism, providing detailed accounts of each of the poet's books. He is the first critic to draw extensively on the Oppen archive, with its thousands of pages of largely unpublished notes and drafts for poems; in doing so, he isable to map the distinctive contours of Oppen's poetic thinking and to investigate the complex origins of many of his poems. Oppen emerges from this study as a writer of mercurial intensities for whom every poem constitutes a "beginning again", a freeing of the mind from thoughts known in advance. A strikingly innovative and challenging poetics results from Oppen's attempt to avoid what he regards as the errors of themodernist avant-garde and to create instead a designedly "impoverished" aesthetic which keeps poetry close to the grain of experience and to the political and ethical dilemmas it constantly poses.

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Regard for George Oppen's poetry has been growing steadily over the last decade. Peter Nicholls's study offers a timely opportunity to engage with a body of work which can be both luminously simple and intriguingly opaque. Nicholls charts Oppen's commitment to Marxism and his laterexplorations of a "poetics of being" inspired by Heideg...

Peter Nicholls is Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Sussex. His publications include Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing, Modernisms: A Literary Guide, and many articles and essays on literature and theory. He recently co-edited with Laura Marcus The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:April 21, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199678464

ISBN - 13:9780199678464

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Beginning again2. Materials3. 'That it is', or This In Which4. 'What it is': Of Being Numerous5. From Avant-Garde to Hegel6. A metaphysical edge': Seascape: Needle's Eye7. 'Out of the whirl wind': Myth of the Blaze and PrimitiveAppendices

Editorial Reviews

"a thoroughly researched and closely argued account" --Jules Smith, Times Literary Supplement 26/09/2008