Make bright the arrows : Edna St. Vincent Millay and the new lyric
Author(s)Brichto, Olga Tsyganova.
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AbstractThesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Edna St. Vincent Millay's politically-charged compilation of poems, Make Bright the Arrows, does not enjoy a privileged place, if any, amongst either the literary canons of modernist verse or war poetry. Millay's tactic of embracing the ability of lyric poems to do the hard work of political discourse on the home front has gone unrecognized by scholars and critics alike; it is an important gateway into the discussion of such later lyric poets as Muriel Ruckeyser, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov and Carolyn Forché. Millay's conception of poetry as social discourse, able and willing to employ the tactics of propaganda, caused an uncomfortable shift for emerging New Critics who were quick to objectify the poet's political work as meaningless, and the poet irrelevant America's literary future. Millay's lyric poems in Make Bright the Arrows embody several modes of writing historically deployed during war time. These modes were re-invented by Millay to serve the difficult purpose of raising the national morale and furthering a political cause. The goal of this study is to illuminate why Make Bright the Arrows has been misinterpreted as unsuccessful but should be re-examined as the gateway to a broader conversation about women's war-time experience and political participation through writing. Edna St. Vincent Millay's Make Bright the Arrows challenges the dominant habits of modernist evaluative structures as an evidentiary text addressing rapid social change due to the significant restructuring of literary and social order between the World Wars.
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