The poets writing in the first years of the twentieth century have commonly been discussed in isolation. In Edwardian Poetry, Kenneth Millard considers together seven poets--Henry Newbolt, John Masefield, Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, A.E. Housman, John Davidson, and Rupert Brooke--and argues that their work is worthy of more serious critical attention than it has previously received. Through an analysis of numerous individual poems, Millard isolates certain common concerns: the changing and perhaps fading value of the idea of England, a distrust of the medium of language itself, and a distrust also of the creative imagination. In its reassessment of these poets, the book provides a literary context for their work, finding in it a kind of pre-war modern British poetry distinct from the Modernism of subsequent decades. In establishing a literary context for the poetry of this century's first decade, the book offers an important revision of modern literary history and points towards an alternative line in twentieth-century British poetry that culminates in the work of Philip Larkin.
`Millard does pay attention to biographical data, and he has a good deal to say about the relationship between a specific set of historical facts and the development of a particular poem. He is also a sensitive reader, and his glosses are convincing ...'
Harold Orel, The Thomas Hardy Journal