The Degenerate Muse: American Nature, Modernist Poetry, and the Problem of Cultural Hygiene
Oxford University Press,
A tide of newfound prosperity swept through America as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. Modernity had arrived. Yet amid this climate of progress, concerns over the perils of modernity and civilization began to creep into the national consciousness. Stress, overcrowding, and immigration stoked fears of degeneration among the white middle- and upper classes. To correct course, the Back to Nature movement was born. By shedding the shackles of modernity and embracing the great outdoors, Americans could keep fit and stave off a descent down the evolutionary ladder.
Drawing on a wide range of primary and archival sources, Robin Schulze examines how the return to nature altered the work of three modernist poets: Harriet Monroe, Ezra Pound, and Marianne Moore. Like other Americans of their day, the trio heeded the widespread national call to head back to nature for the sake of the nation's health, but they faced a difficult challenge. Turning to nature as a means to combat the threat of degeneration in their literary and editorial work, they needed to envision a form of poetry that would be a cure for degeneration rather than a cause. The Degenerate Muse reveals the ways in which Monroe, Pound, and Moore struggled to create and publish poems that resisted degeneration by keeping faith with nature-influenced ideas about what American poetry should be and do in the twentieth century.
A combination of environmental history and modernist studies, The Degenerate Muse reveals that the American relationship to nature was a key issue of modernity and an integral part of literary modernism.
Critics and Poets on Marianne Moore: "A Right Good Salvo of Barks"
Schulze, Robin; Linda Leavell and Cristanne Miller
Bucknell University Press,
The first collection of essays about Marianne Moore to appear in fifteen years, this book brings together the work of well established Moore scholars such as Patricia C. Willis, Elizabeth Gregory, Cristanne Miller, Linda Leavell, and Robin G. Schulze, with that of new contributors to the field. The essays in this volume, written from a variety of international perspectives, range across the most pressing concerns of contemporary literary study and reassert Moore's centrality to a critical and poetic field in which she has been surprisingly marginalized. This book also includes poems written by contemporary poets, many of them significant contributors to scholarship on Moore, as a way of acknowledging the importance of Moore's verse to living writers. The poems compliment the scholarly essays by demonstrating in verse the important ways in which Moore's artistic achievements have stimulated her successors. Illustrated.
Becoming Marianne Moore: The Early POems, 1907-1924
University of California Press,
Throughout her lifetime, Marianne Moore was an avid editor of her own verse. The bulk of her poems appear in numerous, at times vastly different published versions. For Moore, no text was ever stable or finished; each opportunity to publish offered an opportunity to revise. Becoming Marianne Moore gives scholars and readers access to the multiple variant versions of Moore's poems published between 1907 and 1924. An innovative, deeply contextualized facsimile edition of the poet's published early verse, it brilliantly demonstrates that modernist textuality is not a fixed, static product but an ongoing, fluid process.
Becoming Marianne Moore offers readers a full facsimile reprint of the first edition of Observations (1924), the book that garnered Moore the Dial Award for Literature and solidified her reputation as a modernist poet of note. The reprint is followed by a collection of facsimiles that presents each of Moore's poems published between 1907 and 1924 as it first appeared in a modernist little magazine. Each facsimile is accompanied by a variorum table that gives scholars quick access to all of the published changes that Moore made to each poem and a series of brief bibliographical notes that supply information about the immediate publication contexts of all of the presentations of the poem. These notes, in turn, point readers to narrative accounts of Moore's associations with her early publishers that offer a range of historical, contextual, biographical, and bibliographic information about the publication events of Moore's poems and explore her attempts to shape her literary career in concert with some of her most famous modernist peers--Richard Aldington, H.D., Harriet Monroe, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.
A wonderful fusion of historical research and critical sensitivity, Becoming Marianne Moore will change the way people think about Moore's verse and modernist textuality in general. A powerful intervention into Moore studies, it gives readers a broader sense of the poet's complex and brilliant career.
The Web of Friendship: Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens
Ann Arbor, MI:
University of Michigan Press,
The Web of Friendship offers a lively critical account of the little-known and long-lived poetic and personal relationship between Marianne Moore (1887-1972) and Wallace Stevens (1879-1955). Robin G. Schulze traces the two poets' give-and-take from the years immediately following the First World War to Stevens's death in 1955 and explores how events like the Great Depression, the rise of leftist poets in the 1920s and 1930s, and the devastation of the Second World War shaped their poetic exchange. She provides a unique account of the poignant personal conversation between Moore and Stevens in the 1950s, their final years of close friendship before Stevens's death. Grounded in manuscript study, The Web of Friendship also uncovers hitherto unknown source materials for a number of Stevens's and Moore's poems that lead to fresh interpretations of their verse.
Finally, Moore's unexplored, principally supportive relationship with Stevens is a complex illustration of cross-gender cooperation that suggests new ways of understanding poetic influence as historically, archivally, and biographically contextualized conversation.
The Web of Friendship makes a valuable contribution not only to the study of Moore's and Stevens's poetry, but to the consideration of modernist poetry generally and the broader study of poetic influence.