Poetry and literature between the wars.
The British Commonwealth of Nations
The 1931 Statute of Westminster established the former colonies as a federation of equal and autonomous partners with Great Britain in the British Commonwealth.
Ezra Pound was an American poet and critic. Besides composing his own original poetry, he published books on literature, music, art, and economics and translated and edited authors and poets in those same fields from the Italian, French, Chinese, and Japanese languages.
Pound lived in London from 1908 through 1920. Immediately following World War I Pound became the leader of the new postwar Imagist Movement, a "revolutionary" movement of writers (including Wyndham Lewis, Hilda Doolittle, Amy Lowell, and T. S. Eliot) who wished to "blast" out the stuffiness of the Edwardian period. Pound's writings were obscure to many readers because they included content from his vast readings in a variety of languages. Pound moved to Paris in 1920 and to Italy in 1924.
For many years Pound was engaged in writing a long series of esoteric and argumentative "cantos" which opposing camps of critics regarded as either the apex of his achievement or the ultimate in absurdity.
While in Italy, Pound became increasingly supportive of fascism. In January 1941 Pound began broadcasting fascist propaganda by shortwave radio from Rome to the United States. He continued to make broadcasts throughout World War II. At the end of the war Pound was jailed by American forces on charges of treason. He was found mentally unfit to stand trial. Pound was committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C. After his release in 1958 he left the United States for Italy, where he resided until his death in 1972.
An American, Riding began writing poetry while a scholarship student at Cornell University. In 1925 she went to Europe. While there she met Robert Graves. The two lived together for thirteen years in Egypt, England, Majorca, and France. She often collaborated with Graves on scholarly works. Riding returned to the United States in 1939.
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, was fought between the conservative Nationalists, composed of the Spanish aristocracy, the fascist Falange party, church leaders, and the military, led by General Francisco Franco; and the Loyalists, supported by those Spaniards loyal to the deposed Republican government.
The Soviet Union sent aid to the Loyalists, some of whom were communists; the German and Italian fascist governments of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini supported the Nationalists. The British government followed a policy of nonintervention, aiding neither side, but about 2,000 Britons joined International Brigades to fight with the Loyalists. The Nationalist forces won the war.
Many British writers and intellectuals were affected by the civil war. Stephen Spender worked as a Republican propagandist, and W. H. Auden joined the war effort as an ambulance driver. George Orwell served four months on the front with the Republican militia and was badly wounded. He later stated, "What I saw in Spain, and what I have seen since of the inner workings of the left-wing political parties, have given me a horror of politics."
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|Title Annotation:||Literary Names and Terms: People and Places; establishment of British Commonwealth; Ezra Pound; poet Laura Riding; Spanish Civil War|
|Author:||McCoy, Kathleen; Harlan, Judith|
|Publication:||English Literature from 1785|
|Article Type:||Reference Source|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1992|
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