Imagism Essay

3550 WordsMay 18, 201315 Pages
Introduction Name given to a movement in poetry, originating in 1912 and represented by Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, and others, aiming at clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images. Imagism flourished briefly between the years 1912 and 1917, and only a handful of writers called themselves Imagists (in his study of the movement, Glenn Hughes identifies seven writers). The poets officially called imagists were H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Richard Aldington, Amy Lowell, John Gould Fletcher, F.S. Flint, and D.H. Lawrence. However, Ezra Pound, instrumental to the movement's start must be mentioned also. Despite being short-lived, the technique and idea behind Imagism was far-reaching. It embodied central aspects of modernism such as fragmentation, impersonality, discontinuity, and concreteness. Therefore, the writing of many modernists reflects imagist aesthetics even though many would never dream of calling themselves imagists. Imagism as a Movement Ezra Pound may not have been Imagism's founder, but he soon became its most dedicated campaigner. The movement owes much of its success (and existence) to Pound. In fact, he is the one to first coin the term "imagiste." In 1912, he introduced the term along with the poetry of his friends Aldington and H.D., calling them "les imagistes" while helping to start their careers in print. Through propaganda and determined campaigning, Pound drove the Imagist movement by publishing imagist works in little magazines, including his own The Egoist, and promoting it across the continent. Hughes calls Imagism "the best-organized and most influential movement in English poetry since the Pre-Rapaelites" (vii). Though Pound was so integral, his role in the movement hardly lasted. He was "intensely afraid of belonging to a dead movement" and lost interest in the movement as he saw it headed toward stagnation (Hughes 34).

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