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This article is taken from PN Review 176, Volume 33 Number 6, July - August 2007.

Paper Tigers, Burning Bright! James Keery

In the final episode of my serial (PNR 171), I listed a set of 'axioms' which have bedevilled the criticism of the 1940s, but 'paper tigers' is a better term, and I am delighted to adopt it. One goes like this: 'The Apocalypse was a dead loss, but it was all over by 1943...' Professor Tolley (PNR 172) is so little convinced by my arguments to the contrary that he is unable to summarise them without begging the question, invoking, in all seriousness, 'the Apocalypse movement of the late 1930s'! In the same vein, after an account of the emergence of 'visionary modernism' in 'the mid-thirties', he turns his attention to Seven and Poetry London:

Beginning in the summer of 1938, but ending in the spring of 1940... Seven became a vehicle for Apocalypse writing... In the months before the war, there appeared the periodical that is often identified most closely with the new poetry of the forties, Tambimuttu's Poetry London ... He published Apocalypse poets... as well as the much more acceptable Dylan Thomas, George Barker [et al.].// All these developments were a part of a vibrant sub-culture that was emerging in the second half of the nineteen-thirties and that might be seen as being nipped in the bud by the coming of war.

I appreciate the gift of two brilliant specimens for my collection of ...

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