Laura Riding: A Survey of Modernist Poetry

(1487 words)
  • Ella Ophir (University of Saskatchewan)

The sober title A Survey of Modernist Poetry masks a highly charged fusion of idiosyncratic literary history, provocative criticism, polemical cultural commentary, and meticulous textual analysis. The prevailing tone is subtly ironic and slightly arch, but the whole amounts to a lengthy defense of the value of poetry, and in that the authors are entirely serious.

Survey represents one of the earliest uses of the term modernism in its current sense, and was at its publication in 1927 the most thorough study of the literary experimentation of the period. While it names modernism in poetry only to announce its end, Survey is itself a quintessentially modernist work, belonging to that curious genre …

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Ophir, Ella. "A Survey of Modernist Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 April 2010
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]