American Culture and Society since the 1930s by Christopher Brookeman

By Christopher Brookeman

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The subtitle was A Primer oj Modem Heresy and the lectures analyse the work ofa number ofheretical authors that include W. B. Yeats and D. H. Lawrence. 6 Yeats is castigated for substituting 'a highly sophisticated lower mythology' for a 'world of real good and evil, ofholiness or sin' (ASe, p. 46). D. H. Lawrence's story The Shadow in the Rose earden exhibits 'the absence of any moral or social sense' (ASe, p. 37). Only Joyce has created works 'penetrated with Christian feeling' (ASe, p. 48). This parlous state of cultural affairs is the consequence of a modern social system 'worm-eaten with liberalism' (ASe, p.

23 Despite Ransom's personal reservations, the drive to assert the unique non-scientific status of the poetic imagination continued unabated within the 'new criticism' movement. A good example of this drive in which the superior status of poetry is continually emphasised is The Welt Wrought Um by Ransom's fellow-Southerner, Cleanth Brooks. The ten poems from different historical periods that Brooks selects for elose critical analysis in this book do not represent a particular 'criticism oflife' in the Arnold-Leavis tradition.

X) that is not dependent on an agrarian economy or on pastoral genres. Impressionist or cubist paintings are particularly representative of this 'fulness' in that they ofTer the spectator multiple planes, illusions and perspectives on reality, The experimental, highly technical disciplines 01' avant-garde modernist art not only ofTered Ransom a vision of 'fulness' independent of agrarianism but also gave the arts many of the characteristics of modern science. Ransom's abandonment of the ideology of Agrarianism can be clearly seen in a letter he wrote to Allen Tate in 1941: I am forced to regard poetic theory as science, though a new science, because about a new or 'difTerent' kind of discourse.

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