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Myths, Legends, and Apparitional Lesbians: Amy Lowell's Haunting Modernism

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JournalModernist Cultures
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Sep 2017
DatePublished (current) - 30 Nov 2018
Issue number4
Volume13
Pages (from-to)568-589
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

By the end of the twentieth century, Amy Lowell’s poetry had been all but erased from modernism, with her name resurfacing only in relation to her dealings with Ezra Pound, her distant kinship with Robert Lowell, or her correspondence with D. H. Lawrence. The tale of how Pound rejected Lowell’s Imagism, rebranding his movement as Vorticism and spurning the ‘Amygism’ of Lowell’s Some Imagist Poets anthologies (1915-1917), had become something of a modernist myth. Recent critics have begun the project of re-evaluating and ultimately reinstating Lowell, but the extent of her contribution to modernist poetry and poetics – and her influence on other, more popular, twentieth-century writers – has not yet been acknowledged. This essay encourages readers to see the apparitional Lowell, both in the male-dominated world of modernism and in celebrated works by writers that followed. By drawing attention to the weighty impact of Lowell’s poetry on Lawrence – and, later, on Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath – I provide compelling reasons not only to revisit Lowell but also to reassess those texts that are haunted by her presence.

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    Research areas

  • Lowell, Lawrence, Hughes, Plath, Imagism, gender, queer, influence, appropriation

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