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Poetry & Responsibility$
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Neil Corcoran

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380352

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380352.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 17 January 2022

: The Responsibilities of Poetry

: The Responsibilities of Poetry

(p.1) Introduction: The Responsibilities of Poetry
Poetry & Responsibility

Neil Corcoran


This chapter introduces the book by describing its contents while also meditating more generally on the themes of poetic responsibility, accountability, obligation and service that sustain it. The chapter takes stock of various relevant critical accounts of these issues in the work of such writers as T. S. Eliot, A. Alvarez, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, and sets the book's preoccupations in the over-arching context of the modern dialectic between culture and barbarism. It speculates also on why elegy should have become such a prominent modern kind and suggests various analogues in the work of poets such as W. H. Auden, C. P. Cavafy, George Seferis and Robert Hass. It finally proposes that the terms employed by Auden in his great elegy for Yeats are appropriate to the categories of consciousness and affiliation discussed throughout the book.

Keywords:   Responsibility, Eliot, Adorno, Benjamin

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