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imagists,group of English and American poets writing from 1909 to about 1917, who were united by their revolt against the exuberant imagery and diffuse sentimentality of 19th-century poetry. Influenced by classicism, by Chinese and Japanese poetry, and by the French symbolistssymbolists,
in literature, a school originating in France toward the end of the 19th cent. in reaction to the naturalism and realism of the period. Designed to convey impressions by suggestion rather than by direct statement, symbolism found its first expression in poetry but
..... Click the link for more information. , the imagists stated that poetic ideas are best expressed by the actual rendering of concrete images without superfluous commentary. They held the poet must embody his feelings in specific physical analogies that exactly convey his meaning. He must produce a hard, clear, concentrated poetry, free of stilted and artificial vocabulary, meter, and imagery. Ezra Pound, as head of the group, edited the anthology Des Imagistes (1914) and gained control of the Egoist (1913–19), which became the principle imagist journal. Pound soon left imagism for other artistic and political causes, but imagism continued to flourish, through the efforts of Richard AldingtonAldington, Richard
, 1892–1962, English poet and novelist. While studying at the Univ. of London, he became acquainted with Ezra Pound and H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), whom he married in 1913.
..... Click the link for more information. , Hilda DoolittleDoolittle, Hilda,
pseud. H. D.,
1886–1961, American poet, b. Bethlehem, Pa., educated at Bryn Mawr. After 1911 she lived abroad, marrying Richard Aldington in 1913.
..... Click the link for more information. , D. H. Lawrence, and John Gould FletcherFletcher, John Gould,
1886–1950, American poet, b. Little Rock, Ark., educated (1903–7) at Harvard. After traveling throughout Europe, he became a leader of the imagists in England.
..... Click the link for more information. . James Joyce published in three imagist anthologies (1915, 1916, 1917). In its revival of the clarity and conciseness of classical poetry and in its general liberating effect on literature, imagism has been an important influence on 20th-century poetry.
See Imagist Anthology (1930, repr. 1970); P. Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry (1973); study by G. Hughes (1960).
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