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  #11  
Old 05-07-2017, 01:18 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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That pretty much describes the case of Apollinaire: revolutionary before the war, more revolutionary during it. Writing from the trenches.
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2017, 11:21 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Originally Posted by David Callin View Post
Also, just wondering idly - do American readers understand the significance of (and the rightness of ) "The Oval or Villa Park"?
Clearly they do, John! Although you've taken it a step further than I had, and allocated the cricket and the football to different social classes. I hadn't even thought of it in those terms.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2017, 11:24 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
David, I meant that Hardy recognized WWI was an epoch-making event--the West's assumption that civilization was improving with the passage of time was no longer tenable. Twentieth century history certainly did go on to blow that assumption to bits. The war marked the beginning of "the Modern": http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/30/opinio...rt-modern-wwi/

The author argues that Victorian art was not adequate to express WWI's chaos, so Modernism stepped in.
Thanks for clarifying that for me, Aaron. (I need a lot of clarification sometimes.) I just wish he hadn't couched it in those lofty, almost obscure terms.

Without knowing much about the intellectual history of the time, I do wonder whether he can have been the first to recognise it. There must have been others? Perhaps not. I was just wondering about Spengler, but I've never read him.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:48 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi David,

To be fair, I spent a good part of my misspent youth in the British Isles. My salad days.

Cheers,
John
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2017, 11:52 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Your salad cream days as well, probably, John. It's an acquired taste. (Best on egg sandwiches.)

Cheers

David
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2017, 12:09 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Salad cream, not something one sees in Texas...
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2017, 10:03 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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John Isbell, it's known as Miracle Whip. I've never actually seen anyone buy a jar of it.
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2017, 10:07 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Few pay much attention to Sassoon anymore, though without him there would have been no Owen. S.S. was much devoted to Hardy. It was good to see James Fenton quoting Sassoon in this week's NYRB.

Dreamers

BY SIEGFRIED SASSOON

Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

Sassoon's skillful use (and non-use) of the comma is an object lesson in punctuation.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 05-07-2017 at 10:21 PM.
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  #19  
Old 05-07-2017, 10:18 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Not one of Hardy's best, perhaps, with some echoes of "Channel Firing" and other poems. Still, there's this:

Thenceforth no flying fires inflamed the gray,
No hurtlings shook the dewdrop from the thorn,
No moan perplexed the mute bird on the spray;
Worn horses mused: "We are not whipped to-day";
No weft-winged engines blurred the moon's thin horn.

"No weft-winged engines blurred the moon's thin horn" is pure Hardy and, thus, as good as anyone.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 05-07-2017 at 10:23 PM.
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2017, 11:05 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Sam, thanks for sharing the Sassoon--I only know him from the "Immortal Verse" anthology.

For the lines you quote from Hardy's poem--I swear Frost had one of them in mind for several images in "Range-Finding:"

The battle rent a cobweb diamond-strung
And cut a flower beside a ground bird's nest
Before it stained a single human breast.
The stricken flower bent double and so hung.
And still the bird revisited her young.
A butterfly its fall had dispossessed
A moment sought in air his flower of rest,
Then lightly stooped to it and fluttering clung.

On the bare upland pasture there had spread
O'ernight 'twixt mullein stalks a wheel of thread
And straining cables wet with silver dew.
A sudden passing bullet shook it dry.
The indwelling spider ran to greet the fly,
But finding nothing, sullenly withdrew.

--It's the image of a bullet/shell shaking the dew from things.
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