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The Three Disciplines of A. E. Housman's Poetry
Vol. 21, No. 3 (Autumn, 1983), pp. 217-228
Published by: West Virginia University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40002243
Page Count: 12
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Attempts (by Cleanth Brooks and B. J. Leggett, among others) to assimilate Housman's work to the modern movement have been failures, though instructive in disclosing certain shortcomings both in modernist poetics and in Housman's own poetic theory. Housman's poetry works best when it observes three disciplines quite alien to the ironic temper of modernism: an avoidance of intellectual argument in structuring a poem, a level seriousness of tone, and a carefully preserved visual decorum. The intense composure thus attained provides the element of psychological sovereignty over pain which in modernist poetry is indicated by ironic detachment.
Victorian Poetry © 1983 West Virginia University Press