The Temptation of Form
This chapter is about what is snared and not snared by form in ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, and the last part of the poem is especially suggestive in this respect, brilliantly failing and succeeding in complicated proportions. The chapter suggests that the turbulence of the poem — its turbulent contents, so to speak, first ironically denied, then filtered through images of dancing, poetic ambition, and snarling anger, and finally pictured as a shabby but unforgettable apocalypse — are mirrored in the idioms and metres of the work, deflected and tamed by much of its art, but also stalked by a second turbulence, a new strain concentrated almost entirely in the form, the ringing of this poem's uneasy music in our heads, all the troubling residue of the triumph of failure.
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