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By Matthew Hart

Modernism is usually linked to novelty and urbanity. So what occurs while poets determine small groups and native languages with the spirit of transnational modernity? Are vernacular poetries inherently provincial or implicitly xenophobic? How did modernist poets use vernacular language to re-imagine the family among humans, their languages, and the groups during which they live?

Nations of not anything yet Poetry solutions those questions via case experiences of British, Caribbean, and American poetries from the Twenties throughout the Nineties. With a mix of unpolluted insights and attentive shut readings, Matthew Hart offers a brand new conception of a "synthetic vernacular"-writing that explores the cultured and ideological tensions inside modernism's twin commitments to the neighborhood and the worldwide. the result's an invigorating contribution to the sphere of transnational modernist reviews. Chapters specialise in a mix of canonical and non-canonical writers, combining new literary histories--such because the tale of the way Melvin B. Tolson, whereas a resident of Oklahoma, used to be appointed Poet Laureate of Liberia--with analyses of poems by means of Gertrude Stein, W. H. Auden, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot.

More extensively, the booklet unearths how the language of modernist poetry was once formed by means of the incompletely globalized nature of an international during which the geographical region endured to be a first-rate mediator of cultural and political id, whilst its authority was once challenged as by no means earlier than. via deft juxtaposition, Hart develops a brand new interpretation of modernist poetry in English-one that disrupts the severe competition among nationalism and the transnational, paving the best way for a political historical past of modernist cosmopolitanism.

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Extra resources for Nations of nothing but poetry : modernism, transnationalism, and synthetic vernacular writing

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89 There are obvious parallels between Achebe’s argument and the case of Kamau Brathwaite, who advocates a similar creolization of English—and it is this orientation toward Anglophone linguistic experiment that partly explains why I include a chapter on Brathwaite but not on his friend and fellow vernacularist, Ngũgĩ. This is a situation, however, in which the linguistic commonality between Brathwaite and Achebe disguises a greater difference. 90 For both writers, the attempt to adopt English without transforming its values is as mistaken as the belief that the “comprador ruling regimes” of postindependence Africa are in fact free of neocolonial power (Ngũgĩ 30).

It omits significant discussion of important poets, such as Thomas Hardy and Langston Hughes, whose uses of local language should feature in a fuller account of that subject; and it has little to say about some important poetic forms, such as the ballad stanza, which link modernist poems to earlier vernacular examples. I can only apologize for these omissions, which are forced on me by limitations of space. Let me also acknowledge that a more completely comparative study would consider non-Anglophone writers such as Aimé Césaire, whose art is also shaped by border-crossing engagements between bourgeois high culture and vernacular discourse, as well as the multilingual work of African writers such as Ngũgĩ.

17 Bodin is acutely aware of how language can serve as an instrument of conquest, acculturation, and administration; he also demonstrates how early modern jurists were under no illusions about the insurgent potential of subaltern language communities in culturally diverse and politically fractious states. This central point is amply illustrated by the consonance between Roman imperial power and the legacy of Latin as the prestige language of educated Europeans: a prestige that was still alive but under increasing pressure in the sixteenth century, as signaled by Bodin’s 1586 translation of his French first edition into Latin, rather than the other way around.

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