Beautiful Enemies Friendship and Postwar American Poetry
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Beautiful Enemies Friendship and Postwar American Poetry

4.25 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Although it has long been commonplace to imagine the archetypal American poet singing a solitary "Song of Myself," much of the most enduring American poetry has actually been preoccupied with the drama of friendship. In this lucid and absorbing study, Andrew Epstein argues that an obsession with both the pleasures and problems of friendship erupts in the "New American Poetry" that emerges after the Second World War. By focusing on some of the most significant postmodernist American poets-the "New York School" poets John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and their close contemporary Amiri Baraka-Beautiful Enemies reveals a fundamental paradox at the heart of postwar American poetry and culture: the avant-garde's commitment to individualism and nonconformity runs directly counter to its own valorization of community and collaboration. By situating his extensive and revealing readings of these highly influential poets against the backdrop of Cold War cultural politics and within the context of American pragmatist thought, Epstein uncovers the collision between radical self-reliance and the siren call of the interpersonal at the core of postwar American poetry.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 376 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 12.7mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195388984
  • 9780195388985
  • 1,495,588

Review quote

"In Beautiful Enemies, Andrew Epstein offers exemplary Emersonian readings of the intricate web connecting individual talent and collective investment in the poetry and poetics of John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and Amiri Baraka. Averting the Cold War myth of the individual voice in the wilderness of conformity, Epstein gives us voices in conversation and conflict, suggesting that resistance to agreement is at the heart of a pragmatist understanding of literary community." * Charles Bernstein, Donald T. Regan Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania * "Beautiful Enemies charts the fascinating tensions between individual and community in the New York poetry world of mid-century . . . a fascinating, beautifully documented investigation, both of individual poems and of the interlocking friendships that animated their production." * Marjorie Perloff, author of Frank O'Hara, Poet Among Painters * "Epstein's revision of O'Hara is emblematic of the bracingly corrective and inspiring nature of Beautiful Enemies as a whole . . . [His] attentiveness, along with his assiduous scholarship, yields results that should change the way the works, their creators, and their milieu are viewed." * Contemporary Literature * "Epstein's elegant book . . . offers a subtle and meticulously researched account of the literary, personal, and philosophical dynamics of the New York School, and of O'Hara, John Ashbery, and Amiri Baraka in particular * Criticism *show more

About Andrew Epstein

Andrew Epstein is Associate Professor of English at Florida State University.show more

Table of contents

ABBREVIATIONS; INTRODUCTION; COMMUNITY, INDIVIDUALISM, AND COLD WAR CULTURE; SELFHOOD AND FRIENDSHIP IN FRANK O'HARA'S POETRY; JOHN ASHBERY AND THE INTERPERSONAL; BARAKA'S WHITE FRIEND BLUES; O'HARA, ASHBERY, AND THE PARADOXES OF FRIENDSHIP; CONCLUSION; NOTES; WORKS CITED; INDEXshow more

Rating details

8 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 38% (3)
4 50% (4)
3 12% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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