Literature and Politics

FD has just begun reading Daisy Hay’s new study, Young Romantics.  This book (yes, it has its own website) reminds us that the poets Byron, Keats, and Shelley, were members of a highly politicized community and that they often wrote literary works specifically based on their politics.

FD remembers earlier times in the US, not so long ago, actually, when poets got together to create anthologies against war — most recently in 2003, when Sam Hamill started an on-line anthology, but earlier too, when poets joined to protest the Vietnam war (see this essay by John Clark Pratt) and when Neruda called for “Nixonicide.”  Similarly, issues like equal rights for women, for ethnic groups, and the rights of workers were all explored by US writers.

But, sigh, FD doesn’t see much happening at the moment — which seems as political fraught as any other time in our history.  Oddly, the Right seems to be more connected to the literature of politics — Glenn Beck writes his own political novels and has helped keep Ayn Rand’s novels (which needed no help!) selling briskly.  But where are the leftist novels and writers to compete??

Comments are closed.