From: "Anthony White" <anthony.white@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 17:08:08 +1200
On the Romantic/modern/postmodern/post-metropolitan split:
First, I'd like to split modernity into an aesthetic modernity and a
bourgeois modernity. The poets and the artists among the romantics, the
moderns and the postmoderns were pursuing aesthetic modernity, and set
themselves up against bourgeois modernity -- that is industrial revolution,
laissez-faire economics, enlightenment rationalism. But they also wanted to
set themselves up as aesthetic revolutionaries, against their immediate
forbears. In order to do this, they would tend to conflate the aesthetic
modernity and bourgeois modernity distinctions that their forebears had
And so we had Eliot, Pound, Hulme, Lewis et al. conflating the difference
between the romantics and the nineteenth century industrialists and
laissez-faire individualists, when in fact the romantics objected to these
bourgeois modern values and worked in political opposition to them.
And later, among the early postmoderns -- Venturi, Ihab Hassan are some of
the theorists -- modernism and enlightenment rationality, meta-narratives et
cetera are conflated, when, really, these were precisely the things the
moderns were accusing the romantics of and working against. Really,
metanarratives in 'The Wasteland'? Unified world views in _Ulysses_?
I'm not entirely sure what is meant by post-urban or post-metropolitan
poetry. Chris, can you offer any examples?
My instinct is to contradict Chris MacMahon's post and argue that poetry has
long been primarily urban. Written poetry, anyway. That is, it originates
in an urban setting, or if a rural setting, then a rural setting tempered by
urban consciousness and urban experience. The fascination of the romantics
with nature seems to be precisely an urban nostalgia; a rejection of
industrial revolution bourgeois modernity values, seeking a return to . . .
something. A purity. A time before the fall.
Is this what post-urban/metropolitan poetry tries to do? To reject
twenty/first century late capitalist values and affect a return to a
pre-industrial purity, before the fall?
And how does it situate itself in regards to postmodernism? Does it want to
overthrow it, claiming that it has become too complicit with late
capitalism, or is it doing something else?