The features of modern poetry with reference to Eliot and Yeats
Question: Discuss the features of modern poetry with reference to T. S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats.
The modern age in English literature generally believed to have started with the First World War (1914) and continued till 1937, the year of the beginning of the Second World War. However, the trends of modern English poetry became visible in the last quarter of the 20th century. The new kind of poetry was the mirror of the changes in society promoted by several epoch-making historical events.
Trends of poetry
The word trend refers to a general direction in which something is developed or changed. A number of trends that are found in modern poetry are recounted here.
Realism is the first and foremost trend in modern poetry. Whatever the situation is seen by the poets of this epoch has been accepted and dealt with it accordingly. No realistic aspects of society have been left out to discuss in modern poetry. Corruption, the pervasion of sex, social injustice, etc. are the subject matter of modern poetry. The poets like W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Ted Hughes must be mentioned for this.
Destruction of war
There would be thousands of stories yet a new story keeps adding up whether it is worse or better. The destruction of war was the worse story of the modern era which influenced modern literature including poetry at the top level. W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) is an acclaimed poet of modern time who has reflected the horror and destruction of war in his poetry such as ‘‘A Prayer for My Daughter’’ and ‘‘Easter 1916’’ and so on.
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Widespread demand for social reform
Widespread demand for social reform. When a society loses its compatible form, it needs reform. In the modern epoch, English society was in the worse form that is why the poets came forward and took the liability for social reconstruction by their writing. W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) are the leading poets for this and ‘‘The Second Coming’’ by Yeats and ‘‘The Waste Land’’ by Eliot are the best specimen in which social disorders and antidotes have been limned.
Conflict of the human heart
Twenty-century people have been recognized as people of wandering heart and brain. Addiction to excessive thinking made people conflicted. They were fond of evaluating results before taking action for a particular task. As a result, they stayed where they got started at all. “A Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’’ by Eliot is a bright emblem of the heart and brain of modern people.
The ugliest social picture of modern society represented in modern poetry is the hypocrisy of human beings. The society at that time was flamboyant outwardly but vacant inwardly as people were showy and their activities were so-called humanistic. All the social aspects such as love, faith, religion, philanthropy etc. were filled with hypocrisy.
Crazy nationalism is one of the vivid social pictures of neoteric society. Because of the influence of the First World War, people were instigated by the tendency of excessive nationalism which was the result of ‘‘Easter 1916’’ in Ireland and as a result, the leaders were executed. Thus, the modernist poem has shown that nationalism is prime but crossing the limit is worse.
Now it can be said that neoteric poetry has rooted its position in the history of English literature because it has been able to visualize the entire society of the contemporary time.