Quotation and Modern American Poetry: "Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads"

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Texas A&M University Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 256 pages
In this volume Elizabeth Gregory addresses a number of key issues surrounding the formation of the American poetic canon. Taking as her primary examples T. S. Eliot's Waste Land, William Carlos Williams' Paterson, and selected poems by Marianne Moore, she examines the ways in which modern American writers struggled with questions of literary authority and cultural identity in relation to pre-existing European models.

Gregory focuses on these issues through analysis of the use of quotation in modern and postmodern literature, a practice that was strikingly divergent from the accepted use of literary allusion.

Her introduction traces a history of quotation as it has been practiced in literature from classical to modern times. She then focuses on the texts of Eliot, Williams, and Moore—three central figures of American modernism whose work the author believes represents a spectrum of responses to the established European model of poetical discourse.

Gregory's selection of Moore also allows her to deal with feminist concerns as they emerge in the more general modernist dialogue. How was a female writer to make use of a literary canon that traditionally excluded female participation? "The implications of Gregory's argument . . . will surely be of especial interest to feminist scholars of American poetry."—Lois Parkinson Zamora, University of Houston.

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T S Eliots The Waste Land
William Carlos Williamss Paterson
Marianne Moores Poetry of Quotation

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About the author (1996)

Elizabeth Gregory received her Ph.D. in English from Yale University. She is associate professor of English and director of Women's Studies at the University of Houston.

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