Reflections on the Modernism Lab

8/12/17 By Sam Alexander, in response to Ally Findley A recent book on modernist DH projects includes a description of Modernism Lab in an appendix titled “Field Guide to Digital Projects”: Focusing on the networks of people, places, ideas, and works of the early modernist period (1914-1926), the Modernism Lab grew out of Pericles Lewis’s… Continue Reading Reflections on the Modernism Lab

The Chapbook

by Sam Alexander The Chapbook (called The Monthly Chapbook in its first two installments), was the third journal edited by Harold Munro, founder of the Poetry Bookshop, and ran from 1919 until 1925. Munro had previously edited The Poetry Review (the organ of the conservative Poetry Society) and the influential but short-lived Poetry and Drama… Continue Reading The Chapbook

In Memory of Sigmund Freud

by Sam Alexander W.H. Auden‘s “In Memory of Sigmund Freud” (1939) reflects on the similarities between psychoanalysis and the work of the poet and attempts to adapt the traditional elegy to a world in which violent and impersonal death on a massive scale had become an inescapable reality. Freud died, in fact, in the same… Continue Reading In Memory of Sigmund Freud

Mourn– and then Onward!

By Sam Alexander In his later years, William Butler Yeats was not fond of “Mourn—and then Onward!,” the short poem he published in United Ireland four days after the death of Charles Stuart Parnell in 1891.[1] He excluded it from the Collected Poems and balked when it was reprinted as a memorial for Arthur Griffith… Continue Reading Mourn– and then Onward!

Lytton Strachey

by Sam Alexander Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) was a historian, literary critic, and Bloomsbury wit whose ironic prose style and sense of rupture with the Victorian past helped to define English literary modernism. Giles Lytton Strachey was born on March 1, 1880, at Stowey House, Clapham Common, to General Richard Strachey, a former colonial administrator who… Continue Reading Lytton Strachey

The Tunnel

by Sam Alexander The Tunnel (1919) is the fourth volume of Dorothy Richardson’s multi-volume novel, Pilgrimage (1915-1935). The Novel In each of the three sections of Pilgrimage preceding The Tunnel, the heroine, Miriam Henderson, takes a “pilgrimage” from her home in the English countryside. In Pointed Roofs (modeled loosely on Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, and also… Continue Reading The Tunnel

Pointed Roofs

by Sam Alexander Often credited as the first stream-of-consciousness novel in English, Dorothy Richardson‘s Pointed Roofs (1915) is the first of thirteen books comprising Pilgrimage, a multi-volume novel to which Richardson devoted herself until her death in 1957. Pilgrimage follows the life of its protagonist, Miriam Henderson, from March 1893 through the autumn of 1912,… Continue Reading Pointed Roofs

Sestina: Altaforte

by Sam Alexander Ezra Pound‘s “Sestina: Altaforte” (1909) was first published in June, 1909. Pound had given a reading of the poem to the Poets’ Club two months earlier, which was so emphatic that at the Soho restaurant where the club met “a screen had to be placed around the gathering to prevent a public disturbance.”[1]… Continue Reading Sestina: Altaforte


by Sam Alexander “Fish” is the best known poem in D.H. Lawrence’s Birds, Beasts, and Flowers (1923). As he does throughout this volume, Lawrence in this poem uses an encounter with an animal to explore some of his characteristic concerns: the importance of reclaiming instinctual life from the intellectual abstraction of modern life, the need… Continue Reading Fish

Study of Thomas Hardy

by Sam Alexander D.H. Lawrence’s Study of Thomas Hardy (1914) began as a commission for the “Writers of the Day” series published by James Nisbet and co., but grew so far beyond its ostensible subject that Lawrence had to abandon the hope of publication. By 1915, he had even renamed it “Le Gai Savaire” (pseudo-French… Continue Reading Study of Thomas Hardy