Imagism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Imagism was a movement in early 20th century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery, and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and artifice typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets, who were by and large content to work within that tradition. Group publication of work under the Imagist name in magazines and in four anthologies appearing between 1914 and 1917 featured writing by many of the most significant figures in Modernist poetry in English, as well as a number of other Modernist figures who were to be prominent in fields other than poetry.

Based in London, the Imagists were drawn from Britain, Ireland and the United States. Though somewhat unusual for the time, the Imagists featured a number of women writers amongst their major figures. Historically, Imagism is also significant because it was the first organised Modernist English language literary movement or group. In the words of T.S. Eliot; "The point de repère usually and conveniently taken as the starting-point of modern poetry is the group denominated 'imagists' (sic) in London about 1910."

At the time Imagism emerged, Longfellow and Tennyson were considered the paragons for poetry, and the public valued the sometimes moralising tone of their writings. In contrast to this, Imagism called for a return to what were seen as more Classical values, such as directness of presentation, and economy of language, as well as a willingness to experiment with non-traditional verse forms. The focus on the "thing" as "thing" (an attempt at isolating a single image to reveal its essence) also mirrors contemporary developments in avant-garde art, especially Cubism. Although Imagism isolates objects through the use of what Ezra Pound called "luminous details", Pound's Ideogrammic Method of juxtaposing concrete instances to express an abstraction, is similar to the way in which Cubism synthesizes a single image from multiple perspectives.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Imagism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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