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Palgrave Macmillan

Delmore Schwartz

A Critical Reassessment

ISBN 9781137394378
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics

Taking as its starting point Delmore Schwartz's self-appointment as both a 'poet of the Hudson River' and 'laureate of the Atlantic,' this book comprehensively reassesses the poetic achievement of a critically neglected writer. Runchman reads Schwartz's poetry – from In Dreams Begin Responsibilities to the posthumously-published Last & Lost Poems – in relation to its national and international perspectives, recognizing tensions between the two but arguing that these more often animate his writing than hold it back. Addressing Schwartz's Jewish-American heritage, his attempts to negotiate the influence of T. S. Eliot, his use of allusion, his writing about the city, his responses to World War II, and his later poetry's euphonic symbolism, Delmore Schwartz: A Critical Reassessment reestablishes Schwartz's importance to his peers and successors.

Alex Runchman lectures at Trinity College Dublin and the Mater Dei Institute of Education at Dublin City University, Ireland. He has published articles on "middle-generation" sonnets and epic poetry, as well as reviews of contemporary British and Irish poetry. His current project is a revisionary history of nineteenth-century US poetic culture.

1. The Greatest Thing in North America: 'International Consciousness' or 'The Isolation of Modern Poetry'?
2. In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: "The egocentric predicament'
3. The Land of the Old World failure and the New World Success: Genesis and 'America! America!'
4. An Innocent Bystander: The City, Vaudeville for a Princess, and Schwartz's Post-War Cultural Criticism
5. Summer Knowledge: 'Infinite belief in infinite hope'


'As evidenced by Alex Runchman's skillfully and thoroughly researched book, an argument on the behalf of the lesser-known American poet, Delmore Schwartz, can be made, should be made, and has now been made here. Organized, pithy, and direct, Alex Runchman's clear and well-executed study deserves transatlantic attention.' -Stephen Burt, Professor of English, Harvard University, USA
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