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How modernist writers experienced the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Museum of Natural History-and how these museums influenced their writing

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Copyright © 2002, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted February 2003.

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Description

This book explores the relationships between four modernist poets and the museums that helped shape their writing. During the early twentieth century, museums were trying to reach a wider audience and used displayed objects to teach that audience about art, culture, and ecology. Writers such as Yeats, Pound, Moore, and Stein borrowed strategies and techniques from museums in order to create literary modernism. Poetry in the Museums of Modernism places these writers' poetry and prose within the context of specific gallery spaces, curatorial practices, displayed objects, and exhibition objectives of the museums that inspired them, exposing the ways in which literary modernism is linked to museums.
Although critics have attested to the importance of the visual arts to literary modernists and have begun to explore the relationships between literary production and social institutions, before now no one has examined the particular institutions in which modernist poets found the artworks, specimens, and other artifacts that inspired their literary innovations. Catherine Paul's book offers the reader a fresh encounter with modernism that will interest literary and art historians, literary theorists, critics, and scholars in cultural studies and museum studies.
Catherine Paul is Associate Professor of English, Clemson University.