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Shades of AuthorityThe Poetry of Lowell, Hill and Heaney$
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Stephen James

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311178

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314049

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Violence and Idealism

Violence and Idealism

(p.46) Violence and Idealism
Shades of Authority
Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the poetry of Robert Lowell. It discusses how his verse exposes family members, fellow writers, and historical and contemporary figures to unsparing and often unflattering scrutiny. However, Lowell himself bears the brunt of such harsh measures more frequently and more severely — the destructive impulse at work in the verse is always also a self-destructive one. His poetry's social or political vision also refuses any neat distinction between destructive and reparative potential. The analysis includes works such as ‘Leader of the Left’, ‘Marcus Cato 95–46 B.C.’, and ‘The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket’.

Keywords:   Robert Lowell, poets, poetry, destruction, scrutiny

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