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Title:"Raising the specter": Poems and songs of the American Radical Left, 1880-1920
Author(s):Furey, Hester Leone
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nelson, Cary
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):American Studies
Literature, American
Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:The specter of the mad anarchist, red flag in one hand and a bomb in the other, haunted the pages of America's conservative press in the period beginning with the Paris Commune and ending with the Palmer Raids. This "haunting" signified deep-rooted anxieties: anarchists, radical socialists, and free-thinkers of all kinds not only threatened the safety of government officials, but laid siege to American values already destabilized by the approach of the twentieth century and overwhelming technological change. We now know the period 1880-1920 in terms of the rise of modernism, as a time when disaffection with Victorian values was reflected in the breakdown of traditional art forms and experimentation in art moved significantly away from the referential model. "Raising the Specter" offers a detailed analysis of some of the transformations in poetry that took place during this period, such as those we now associate with Poetry, A Magazine of Verse, and contextualizes these changes with reference to rising censorship directed at the Left and at popular entertainment. The Radical Left's contributions to the poetry of this period are surprisingly extensive and substantial. Believing that poetry's reliance on logics of metaphor and paradox made it eminently suitable for use in thinking through the problems of modern life, Leftists idealized poetry. Consequently, poetry played major roles in their efforts to transform social and interpersonal relationships in the modern world. The diverse work of such poet-activists as Edgar Lee Masters, George McIntyre, Cora Richmond, Joe Hill, T-Bone Slim, and Arturo Giovannitti reflects and creates alternative aesthetics in which poetry may interpret history and politics and still be revered as speaking a higher truth than other language arts, even as it encourages readers to think critically and question civil authorities.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Furey, Hester Leone
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305530
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305530

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