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New Apocalypse, The

The New Apocalypse: An Anthology of Criticism, Poems and Stories, The White Horseman

movement fraser poetry hendry

a group of writers, predominantly poets, who cohered closely as a movement from the appearance in 1939 of The New Apocalypse: An Anthology of Criticism, Poems and Stories, edited by J. F. Hendry, until the later 1940s. With Henry Treece, Hendry edited two further anthologies, The White Horseman (1941) and The Crown and the Sickle (1944); the former is prefaced with a passage from Apocalypse (1931), D. H. Lawrence's radical critique of cultural and religious orthodoxy, with which the movement made its alignment apparent in its choice of name. G. S. Fraser's introduction to The White Horseman declares the group's ‘ruthless scepticism about political thought’ and defends the intense imaginative subjectivity characteristic of much of its writing; Fraser rejected the rationally discursive ‘classicism’ felt to be typified by the poetry of Auden and his associates, describing the New Apocalypse as a ‘dialectical development of Surrealism’ in its reliance on the deep creative resources of the individual psyche. While their poetry was sometimes capable of registering the moral turmoil of wartime, its violent excesses of imagery and tendency to formal indiscipline prompted the anti-romantic reaction typified by the Movement in the post-war years. Freudian and Marxist thought strongly informed the group's philosophy, and Dylan Thomas was their principal exemplar in poetry. The first two anthologies featured work by Hendry, Treece, Fraser, Nicholas Moore, Norman MacCaig, Vernon Watkins, and others; The Crown and the Sickle indicated the start of the movement's decline, being largely made up of writing by less distinguished contributors.

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