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Imagism In Modern English Poetry---By: Ahmed Elamin Ahmed.

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sudaneseonline.com
1/25/2006 3:49 pm

By: Ahmed Elamin Ahmed.
Introduction:
It is agreed that the roots of the modern English Poetry go back to the beginning of the 20th century ,when the imagism attitude led to by T.E.Hulme and Ezra Pound was established.
For long years we have miconcepted the indication of the word "imagism" for we had believed that it is connected with presenting the images whether in reality or as metaphor then it was developed to concern with the latter only, also this imagism was related in our minds with the general concepts which established by the modern criticism such as the unity of poem, unity of impression. Organism ,coherence.etc
Imagism movement and modernism are both artificial resource like the resources which are used in pointing the different artificial attitudes it goes beyond the temporal indication to contain thoughts and artificial features also it presents the features of the whole age.
There is a sense in which imagism may be defined satisfactorily and inclusively for it was just a matter of technique it is also an attitude towards the nature and function of poetry.
T.E.Hulme was known as the first imagist poet and theorist, the poets of this attitude from Flint to Pound were the first who wrote about him ,studying his aesthetic and experimental poems and comparison of them with the imagism is simply a watered down version of the speculation or of one wishes a reduction of their principles essentials.
Hulme Group of 1908 Club were organized in 1909 this was closed to his poetic theorythis salon which limited for only short time attracted many poets mainly Flint and Pound but it limited their prose lying effectiveness ,this club was widely for general discussion rather for lecturing where Hulme celebrates his ideas and does literary lecturing but he has no rhetorical ability so he was unknown by many of his contemparies.
The second Poet Club developed in the salon of 1914as Hulme inserts turning to modern art the impression of the contemparies is that of Hulme was related with visual arts than poetry, he analyzed in some details what he considered the two main problems of the artist:

& -Perception---what he sees.
&-Expressionhow he communicates what he sees.
He says:" The artist however sees not stook but types but indidivuals,his problem is to see things as they are apart from any conventional way of seeing them".
Literature in fact may be defined as entirely the deliberate standing still hovering and thinking one self in an artificial view for the moment and not affecting real action at all ,he says the literary artist has a language to express his unconventional vision because words are designed to serve an essentionally practical purpose the words tend to give a lowest common denomination of meaning "concrete language".
The artist second problem is to break the stiff general patterns which make language incapable of expressing an individual reaction, the artist conveys the full range of his own individual feeling his success depends on his ability in using the metaphor because by revealing new analysis to the reader he can convey the freshness and individuality of new vision.
The analogy forces the reader to linger over points significant to the poet, one is the concrete visual quality of the imagery used in the comparison "each word must be an image seen not a counter"concentratness of imagery produces a shock that bring the reader to an abrupt stop.
The effect Hulme wanted was that word set poetry apart from the practical and dully reasonable attitudes of normal life.
Hulme believes man can not write without seeing at the which precedes the writing makes it firm." He has asserted a debt toHenri Berg son for certain in his aesthetic studying this aesthetics one finds an approach hostly retreat from Berg son which is characteristic of Hulme Philosophy as whole.
Hulme has got two main concepts of the Bergonism :
- Conception of reality as a flux of interpertracted elements unseizable by the intellect .
- Orientation of the mind towards action and the significance of the orientation habits of operation which the human mind has developed.
Hulme believes the artist who emancipated for the necessity for action can lift the veil and expose reality he asks how does this reveal the inner life of things "interaction in just what the artist tries to regain in breaking down the barrier that space puts up between him and his model" this is the basis for Hulme statements of the artist problem of perception.
Bergson also provided Hulme with an analysis of language which revealed or limitation imposed upon it by its service to the intellectual and its consequent inability to express what the artist sees ,he admits that: "without language intellect would have remind fixed on the external objects with which it deals and would never have been free for more complex process of thoughtetc" it can not for example express reality like consciousness is made up of interpeniated states it can express reality in non real terms .
Through the rhythms of these words he can subdue the intellect and prepare the way for an intuition ,he can create condition which increases its effectiveness is moved by a certain image which put in to juxtaposition in separate lines serve to suggest and evoke the state he feels to this picking up and juxtaposition of distinct images in different lines ,one can find a fanciful analysis in music .etc
Hulme also was indebted to Bergson for providing with an efficient vocabulary ,both theorists insisted that poets vision is an unconventional oneadjusted language in comported to express it and relied upon metaphor and analogy to bring the reader in range of the vision effectiveness but Hulme debt is limited to Bergson lucid argument of these related ideas, beyond this the theories of the two men at which variance.
According to Bergson the artist sees reality ,he express the minds normal orientation towards action and turns instead of to the search for pure knowledge ,he has learned that intuition serves where intellect fails , and through it he discerns in the face of living being .
Hulme philosophy marked by a consisted refusal to grant to intuition the power Bergson gave it and he defined literature as the "Hovering and thinking oneself in an artificial view." It avoids the abstract and mules language a sharp instrument with which to prove human feelings.
Hulme describes literature as ethic romanticism or classic the term carries in his as ethics the same meaning they had in his philosophy and represent opposing views of things the artist sees ,in his vision the romantic assumes that the human mind can apprehend the realities of religious as well as of these of the external world of absolute truths and the world of intellect tends to explain the religious in human tends and reduces God to the level of man-but the romanticism believes in man as a measure of all things.
Hulme analyzed the poetry of many romantic poets to support his vision in general terms ,leaving the reader to perform the detailed criticism for himself.
The distinction between romantic and classical verse was of Hulme,s way of distinguishing in poetic theory between the foolish over estimation of man's potentialities which extend his vision to include reality and the wise foreshadowing with God grace it represents a plea and prophecy .
The terms was in his argument belief that poet should reject the romantic and turn to the classic and confidently predicated that before it was about it was about to take place.
He made specific suggestion for the guidance of poets who wished to achieve the cheerful dry unsophisticated tone of the new verse and even write a handful of poems to demonstrate his theories he broke the romantic vision about man, he says the aim of the poetry is to express the vivid patches ,the "sudden lifts " in life .love, fighting ,dancing etc.he wanted poetry to express was the minor transient almost trivial ones which result from seeing physical things in an unconventional waymust not wait for their appearance anyway of seeing objects of routine existence is worth experience.
Hulme turned from the horizon to his feetif the classical poetry by presenting them in an usual way he will have to rely on analogy ,he established a reasonable standard for evaluating the new verse ,he didn,tthink the question of metric irrelevant he recommended that the classical poet seeks new verse.
The new verse has two main principles a Hulme said:
-Denial of regular number of syllables as the basis for versification.
-Determination of line length by the requirement of the imagery.
Hulme poems are not merely unimaginative exercises written to the specifications of a blue point while they are clearly meant to demonstrate his theory they do not need the theory to justify their appearance and print and while they conform to his recommendations ,they place them in a perspective that suggests their e relative importance and in at least one case they reveal clearly a significant point which would probably be overlooked on the strength of his theory alone.
The poems deal with the subjects of every day perception e.g.
1- Above the quiet dock in midnight
Tangled in the tall mast's carded height.
-2 A touch of cold in the autumn night
I walked abroad
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red face farmer
These subjects are standard material for poetry, perhaps Hulme selects them for both character tics because his interest was to force the reader to see a literary way of seeing it.
He deals with the way personal feeling that result from viewing a physical object in an unusual way e.g. his poem Mana Abona success or failure depends upon the impact of the imagery the poem shows that the object is important not only because it is physical but because its peculiar nature completes a contrast one finds:
The moon compared to the child's balloon.
A sunset compared to a coquettish girl.
The stars to the white faces of the towns children.
And roundabout were the wishful stars with white faces like town children.
In the sky describes in these lines :
O,God make small
The old stareaten etc.
The comparison in each case reduces normally poetic and impressive perception to the level of the trivia of every day life ,his poem accepts the tragic nature of manes limitation with ironic amusement that shows most clearly in the kind of contrast he expected analogy to make.
The poems have no regular metrical pattern but the metre is ignored where an analogy seems to require it, line length are adjustable to the linguistic demands of the image .
Beyond its immediate interest as a forerunner of imagism Hulme,s theory of poetry has a more general significance it was, at the same time a visual significant before his eye, it this image which precedes the writing and makes it firm.
Hulme has got two main concepts of the Bergsonim:
1-conception of reality as a flux of interpreted elements unseized by the intellect.
Hulme believes the artist who emancipate for the necessity for action can lift the veil and expose reality he asks how does this reveal the inner-life of things "interaction in just what the artist tries to regain in breaking down the barrier that space puts up between him and his model" This u is the basis for Hulme statement of the at artist problem of perception.
Hulme lectures in imitation for Berg son method says the poet is moved by a certain image which put in to juxtaposition in separate lines serve to suggest and evoke the state he feels to this picking up and juxtaposition of distinct images in different lines ,one can find a fanciful analysis in music.
Hulme also intended to Bergson for providing with an efficient vocabulary, both theoritists insisted that the poet vision is an unconventional one adjudge language in compared to express it and relied upon metaphor and analogy to bring the reader in to Bergson lucid argument of these related ideas ,beyond this theories of the two men at which variance .
According to Bergson the artist sees reality he express the minds normal orientation towards action and turns instead to search for pure knowledge he has learned that intuition serves where intellect fails ,through intuition he discerns in the Hulme philosophy marked by a consisted refined literature as the hovering and it finds oneself in to an artificial Bier.
Hulme and the imagists made the beginning of the effort which culminate in more complex and elaborate theories of certain contemporaries critics.
References:
1-FUSUL: An Egyptian Journal of Literary Criticism ,published in Arabic with some articles in English ,French or both , Volume no.2 "Literature And Arts" Jan,--Mar.1985Egypt.
2- Imagisim-Achapter in The History of Modern Poetry \ A book by Stanley Coffman & Norman Okhaman 1951.
3- Oral Lectures entitled "An Introduction to Modern English Poetry " delivered by Dr.MOHD ABDULHAI..Dept. of Eng.Faculty of Arts University of KhartoumSudan during the academic year 1987-1988.

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