THE POETRY OF THE THIRTIES by A. T. Tolley

THE POETRY OF THE THIRTIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The jacket copy of this British import would have it that Trevor Tolley has done justice ""to a host of unfairly neglected poets"" in this survey of the decade that stretched from the Wall Street crash to the invasion of Poland. Rather, he has resurrected quite a lot of enormously, deservedly dead corpses, whose terrible verses he damns as fast as he unearths them. He begins promisingly enough at Oxford circa 1925, where Auden, MacNeice, C. Day Lewis and Spender were undergraduates together, and though he keeps an eye peeled for their succeeding activities (and Isherwood's) during this decade, his catholic and chronological framework hinders him from saying much of anything about anybody. He briefly analyzes the left-wing revolutionary element in upper-middle-class poetry of this period, concluding that ""it was not the liberalism of [their] class that was their stumbling block in truly entering into Communism, but the innate snobbery and politeness in everything that made up their way of life."" Dylan Thomas rates a chapter of his own, and other names in passing include: Julian Bell, William Empson, John Betjeman, F. R. Leavis, J. Bronowski, Kathleen Raine, Roy Fuller, Laurie Lee. An exceedingly dull and flabby presentation.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1975
Publisher: St. Martin's