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Oostdijk, Diederik, 1972-
Among the nightmare fighters : American poets of World War II / Diederik Oostdijk
Alternate Title American poets of World War II
Columbia : University of South Carolina Press, c2011
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PS310.W68 O67 2011    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) American poetry -- 20th century -- History and criticism
American poetry -- Male authors -- History and criticism
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Literature and the war
War poetry, American -- History and criticism
War in literature
Physical Description xvi, 307 p. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-295) and index
Contents A silent generation? -- pt. 1. Haunting traditions : "I'm no Wilfred Owen, darling" -- A little disagreement with some modernists -- "Childish" Allen Tate, the new critics, and reaching poetic maturity -- Talking back to W. H. Auden -- pt. 2. Emerging selves : Caught in amber: the intellectual GI and army culture -- "To be a Jew in the twentieth century" -- Robert Lowell's ideological vacillations -- Randall Jarrell's secondhand reality -- pt. 3. Confused masculinities : James Dickey's hypermasculinity -- "All wars are boyish" -- Karl Shapiro's sexual appetite -- Alternative masculinities -- pt. 4. Troubled afterlives : "Ought I to regret my seedtime?" -- "Lucky" John Ciardi's trauma of war -- "Aftersight and foresight": the Vietnam War -- Howard Nemerov and the "good war" myth -- "All wars are boyish ... but we are old"
Summary On the first comprehensive study of American male poets of World War II, Diederik Oostdijk gives voice to the literary men still considered to be a part of the Silent Generation. Focusing not only on soldier poets, but also on conscientious objectors and those deemed unfit for military service, Among the Nightmare Fighters sheds light on the struggles faced by writers---including Randall Jarrell, Anthony Hecht, Robert Lowell, Howard Nemerov, William Stafford, and others---from the onset of the U.S. involvement in the war in Europe to the painful physical and psychological after-effects soldiers carried with them following their service years. Enriched with extensive historical and personal background information drawn from the poets' archives, Oostdijk's study explores the internal confusion expressed by the World War II poets who felt overshadowed by the past generation of Great War poets in their own conflicts with notions of identity, manhood, and the haunting aftermath of war. Collectively the poems form an important and sobering antidote to the sometimes overly positive celebrations of the Good War and the Greatest Generation, recapturing some of the anxiety, frustration, and bitter sadness that the war years also occasioned. Oostdijk demonstrates the importance of appreciating these men not only as a literary group, but also as solitary writers experiencing the hardships and adversities of war on an individual level. He emphasizes each author's distinctive reactions to the disasters and conflicts that were witnessed---such as Karl Shapiro's struggle with his Jewish identification, James Dickey's fascination with the meaning and projection of manhood, Nemerov's perception of war's effect on American society, and Ciardi's preoccupation with traumatizing combat memories. A factor that connected these men in their responses to war was their overreaching efforts to identify as individuals and not merely as blurred faces among the myriad combatants, a goal that Oostdijk acknowledges in recognizing the unique experiences of his subjects as key to interpreting their poetry. Among the Nightmare Fighters has both literary and historical merits as a means to comprehend in a more detailed manner the events that took place on the battlefields and the home front and the psychological effects World War II had on the returning American soldiers. Oostdijk's study echoes with the whispers of these American poets and recognizes the significance their work has had on literary history in their time and since

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