A Battle Between The Traditional And The Modern

1450 words - 6 pages

This is an essay about the battle between the traditional and the modern. It has focused on Pound and Yeats’ works in Literature to show the position of each poet’s contribution to modernity. Both poets used different approaches to contribute to modernity. Yeats used classical illusions in his poems to pass the messages and was more focused on culture. This shows his characteristic as a traditionalist more than a modernist (Yeats). Grading his contributions, he is considered the link between the nineteenth and the twentieth century. This is because he focused on culture and grand tradition, which in the nineteenth century was like the identity of the British (Booker p.65). Because of this, he captured many people in the 19th century, and as his work changed to focus on modernity, he contributed to the early 20th century civilizations. Pound on the other hand, was considered modern self consciously. His works incorporated foreign languages and he had ideas that are applicable in today’s modern world; those that were almost irrelevant in the 19th century (Pound). Because of these differences, Pound is placed closer to modernity than Yeats. Yeats’ works are in the early modernity stages while Pound’s works are from early modernity to late modernity stages.

The Battle between the Grand Tradition and the Avant-garde
By 1914, tradition was already broken in literature and virtually everything was taking the trend of modernism. Almost everything was being focused on being modern. This is from cubism, futurism, expressionism, and pure abstraction in painting, abandonment of tonality in music and functionalism, and flight from ornament in architecture (The Arts p. 179). In 1914, modernity was already famous and many people who would be considered eminent ‘modernists’ were already mature and famous. The Arts notes that, “Even T.S. Eliot, whose poetry was not published until 1917, and after was by then clearly a part of the London avant-garde scene [as a contributor (with Pound) to Wyndham Lewis’ Blast]” (p. 179).
Poets contributed to modernity, but in different ways especially Pound and Yeats who are considered among the most famous modernists. These different approaches create what could be referred to as the battle between tradition and the avant-garde in poetry.
Tradition refers to the use of traditional ways of writing a poem while avant-garde refers to the idea of using new ideas to write poems. Avant-garde is a word attached to many different but positive meanings, it means being innovating, breaking down barriers, daring and challenging principles (Ruthven p. 83-84). It is noted in The Arts that the main new ideas that contributed to modernity are those that were done before 1914, and that formal contributions made after 1914 were Dadaism which led to surrealism and Constructivism. Constructivism only extended architectural modernism (p.179), while surrealism is considered to be an extension of the avant-garde revolution. In this battle...

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