Quantum Poetics examines the Modernist appropriation of scientific metaphors as part of a general search for the preverbal origins of poetry. The poetic possibilities offered by developments in scientific discourse intrigued Yeats, Eliot and Pound, writers intent on remapping the general theory of poetry. Using models supplied by physicists, Yeats sought for the basic units of poetic force, both through his sequence A Vision and through his belief in, and defense of, the purity of symbols. Daniel Albright demonstrates how Modernists created a whole new way of thinking about poetry and science as two different aspects of the same quest.
'Quantum Poetics offers a better context in which to make sense of Modernism's obsessive need to isolate elementary literary units: 'classicism', for example, might explain the temperament that produced the vortex, but reference to science explains the force and motion of the vortex itself. Best of all, Albright gives us a new way to understand how Modernism's various characteristic ambivalences resolve themselves.' Journal of English and Germanic Philology