By Linda M. Shires (auth.)
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Extra info for British Poetry of the Second World War
Con no lly is to rn bet ween isolating th e a rtist in a n ivory tower away fro m history and allow ing him th e freedo m to write a bo ut cu rre n t eve n ts . H e tak es no stro ng perman ent sta nd. In 1940 a lone, as I an H amilton not es, Co nno lly wavered in di stinct confusion through va rious m agazin e issu es. H e wondered what a ttitude to strike a bo ut wa r a nd th e a rtist. Inter estingly, his chang ing opinions seem to follow political even ts fairly ac curately. In]anu ary, war was di smissed as a bor e; in M ay, as th e German s in vaded H olland a nd Belgium a nd C hurchill was elec ted Prime Min ist er, C onnolly viewe d wa r as th e ene my of a ll creative ac tivity .
Each magazine needs a new decade and each decade needs a new magazine. '23 One of the new magazines of 1939, and the one most people 16 British Poetry of the Second World War associate with th e d ecade of th e forties, was Cyril C onnolly's Horizon. C onnolly st arted Horizon in September a nd published it from Stephen Spender's flat in L ansdowne T errac e. Compa red with other magazines such as The Criterion or New Verse, H orizon was cr eatively cautious, even timid. Connolly's manifesto had declared: 'A magazine sho uld be th e reflection of its time, and one that ceases to reflect this sh ould co me to a n end' .
D eclaring to readers that his j ob was to keep tr aditions a live, Connolly consisten tly lamented th e huge gap he saw between cult u re a nd real life. In th e co urse of th e d ecade, he did remind th em of a civiliza tion wo rth sa ving a nd ea gerly printed th e ideas of su ch Europ ean s as Cavafy, Eluard, Malraux, Bartok a nd Picasso. Behind Con no lly' s credo (sta ted in th e first issu e of Horizon) lay a seve re d isappointment with politics: 'O ur sta ndards are aesthetic, and our politics a re in a beyance'.
British Poetry of the Second World War by Linda M. Shires (auth.)