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Power, Plain English, and the Rise of Modern Poetry$
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David Rosen

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100716

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100716.001.0001

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The Lost Youth of Modern Poetry

The Lost Youth of Modern Poetry

T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden

Chapter:
(p.123) Chapter 4 The Lost Youth of Modern Poetry
Source:
Power, Plain English, and the Rise of Modern Poetry
Author(s):

David Rosen

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300100716.003.0005

This chapter studies the works of T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. It first looks at Auden's work “The Watershed” and its implications for the fate of plain English in the twentieth century. This chapter is thus an account of the first generation of modern poets. It attempts to establish the connection between the Romantics to the emergence of these modern poets, and how the low register played in to the passage of time and evolution of language. The low register had in it a twofold legacy: on the one hand it had a reputation for honesty and a sense of accuracy in portraying the real world; on the other hand, it was an elevated idiom, an expression of the mind's active role in reflecting on and shaping reality—or what Coleridge called the lingua communis. This chapter thus looks at the career and work of Eliot and Auden in an attempt to uncover what their legacies have contributed to the low register of English.

Keywords:   low register, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, The Watershed, plain English, modern poets, Romantics, lingua communis, Coleridge

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