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This review is taken from PN Review 1, Volume 4 Number 1, October - December 1977.

SISTERS UNDER THE SKIN? Myron Simon, The Georgian Poetic, University of California Press, $3.95.

A Georgian poetic? Those for whom Myron Simon's title conjures up, say, Aristotle's Poetics, will be surprised, if not incredulous. Up till now no one, least of all any of the poets concerned, has announced that the Georgians, as a movement, were able to lay claim to a treatise, set of principles, or even credo, to support their poetic practice-nothing, certainly, to compare with T. E. Hulme's Speculations, often cited as the philosophical support for the contemporaneous movement, Imagism. At one point, with disarming candour, Myron Simon admits his difficulty: 'Indeed, their very stance militated against consolidation into a "movement". Consequently, the Georgians are most easily defined through reference to what they were against. . . . Of the fourteen principles of early Georgian poetry listed by Palmer [Herbert Palmer, Post- 'Victorian Poetry, 1938], no less than thirteen are negative admonitions.' This is not, we would conclude, a secure foundation on which to erect a 'poetic'.

What, therefore, inspired Myron Simon to locate a 'poetic' for the Georgians? The answer appears to be a determination to prove that the Georgian poets, because they had a philosophy and a programme, were a weighty and reckonable opposition to 'modernism', and in particular to the Imagists. Again with scrupulous honesty, Simon painstakingly dispels any ill-considered notions we may have about the 'warfare' between Imagists and Georgians, and documents at some length a 'popular front' between the two groups against the then widely read Victorian poets, such as William Watson, Alfred ...


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