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The Degenerate Muse
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The Degenerate Muse: American Nature, Modernist Poetry, and the Problem of Cultural Hygiene

Robin G. Schulze


America’s modernist poets came of age in a nation struggling to redefine its relationship with poetry and with nature. In the early twentieth century, Darwinian science dictated that as countries became more civilized, their citizens ceased to engage in the invigorating struggles against nature that kept them fit. Civilization led to the medical condition known as degeneration, the morbid deviation of men from a “normal type” that, as Max Simon Nordau argued, was evident in the modernist literature that both reflected and spread the sickness. Eager to save America from becoming a degenerate Eu ... More

Keywords: nature, american, poetry, modernist, modernism, modernity, degeneration, Harriet Monroe, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199920327
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199920327.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robin G. Schulze, author
University of Delaware