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Bliss Carman

A Reappraisal

Edited and with an introduction by Gerald Lynch

Publication Year: 1990

The tarnished reputation of this turn-of-the-century poet is persuasively burnished anew by fifteen scholars, editors, and poets.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-6

Bliss Carman (1861-1929) achieved something of an overnight success with the publication of his first volume of poems, Low Tide on Grand Pre(1893), a success that seemed to have been secured by the widely popular volumes of vagabondia poems that he co-authored with Richard Hovey (1894-1900), the multi-volumed Pipes of Pan (1902- 1905), and Sappho (1905). Yet Carman, to a greater extent perhaps...

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The Popular and Critical Reputation and Reception of Bliss Carman

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pp. 7-19

B,Diss Carman is a poet about whom the prevailing cliches have tended to be that he was some kind of effete Bunthorne,1 posturing at readings, hair floating in the breeze, not taken seriously by anyone who mattered. In much of the criticism and analysis of the last couple of generations, this perception of Carman as lightweight has hindered sensitive, intelligent or even-handed reception of his poetry...

Three Poets Read Carman

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On Bliss Carman

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pp. 21-24

For the last dozen years or so I didn't think anyone but me considered Carman to have much value. Most people who've written about him recently have sounded negative; few would admit they enjoyed him for fear other people would think they had no taste or modern sensibility. By contrast, many of those who wrote about him...

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Haunted by Bliss

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pp. 25-32

I'm beginning with one of my own poems, "For Bliss Carman." This poem says in concentrated form much of what I have to say about Carman—or to Carman, as the poem is addressed to him, or to his ghost. FOR BLISS CARMAN...

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Carman: Animula vagula blandula

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pp. 33-42

The significance of Carman is, at least in part, his difference from his predecessors and his contemporaries, and this difference is headlined in the word "vagabondia." Some readers miss the point, as when Donald Stephens tends to dismiss Carman as an armchair vagabond. We must, I think, take Carman seriously. The vision of an organic society that informed much English-Canadian poetry...

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Bliss Carman and the American Literary Milieu of the 1890s

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pp. 43-52

An the fall of 1889 Bliss Carman wrote his sister Muriel from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was enrolled as a student at Harvard. "Some fellows in Boston are starting a new review," he informed her, "and have asked me to take the management of it. . . . It is hoped to make the thing first class in every way. A weekly paper on Literature, Art, Sociology, chiefly."1 The fellows in Boston finally got a literary magazine...

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On Analyzing and Editing Bliss Carman's Work: The Critical Question

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pp. 53-60

The development of Bliss Carman's work has long interested Carman critics.1 The differing critical opinions range from those of H.D.C. Lee, Carman's first book-length critic, to those of Odell Shepard, James Cappon, Muriel Miller, Desmond Pacey, and Donald Stephens, his later ones. Thus Lee, writing his dissertation on Carman in 1912, states:..

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Carman as Critic

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pp. 61-84

An an 1899 column titled "Marginal Notes: Criticism and Construction," Bliss Carman half-humorously said that "If all our busy, well-meaning critical babble could be blotted out for a single decade, the benefit to art would be incredible" (n.p.), and some critics have assessed Carman's own criticism as itself little more than "well-meaning . . . babble." Donald Stephens...

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Carman and Mind Cure: Theory and Technique

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pp. 85-110

Although Carman's philosophical ideas and intellectual development have received considerable attention down the years, comparatively little space has been allotted to discussion of his poetic technique,2 and to the now somewhat unfashionable issue of the relation in his poetry between form and content, manner and matter. On the assumption (shared, as it happens...

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Bringing "Gladness out of Sorrow": By the Aurelian Wall

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pp. 111-128

An 1898 Bliss Carman collected his elegiac and commemorative verse in By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies, carefully arranging the book so that its first and title poem is about Keats, its longest poem is about Shelley, its first three poems are for English Romantics, and its concluding poem is for Carman himself. One of the reasons why this book should be better known is that it provides a corrective to some influential generalizations about Carman...

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Grues and Gaunts: Carman's Gothic

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pp. 129-140

B,Beginning at least as early as James Cappon's Bliss Carman and the Literary Currents and Influences of his Time (1930), the literary influences upon Bliss Carman's poetry have been traced through a now-standardized lineup. Among the poets who apparently stand behind the work—including Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, and Emerson—pride of place has invariably been given to the Romantics: Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Coleridge...

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"A Gift for Some Purpose": Bliss Carman's Lyrics and their Influence on Early Twentieth-Century Poetry in Canada

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pp. 141-164

In November 1923, Carman wrote to Frederika Milne, one of several infatuated young women to whom he wrote many love letters in the last decade of his life: Do you know, Wayside, I don't know how I could keep along with this daunting life, and all its complexities and trials, if there had not come such vast and amazing new supplies of courage and knowledge...

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Bliss Carman's Pageants, Masques and Essays and the Genesis of Modern Dance

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pp. 165-180

Although they are neglected today, Bliss Carman's stage works were of crucial importance to him, and the work of which they are the visible remainder changed Carman's world and our own. I would like to focus attention on a Bliss Carman heretofore unrecognized in literary circles—the Carman who, as an American essayist and teacher...

In Summary

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pp. 181-183

"Whatever happened to Bliss Carman?" Raymond Souster puts this question at the top of his Foreword to the selection of Carman's poetry which he and Douglas Lochhead published in 1985, and he later attributes it to John Betjeman, as part of a conversation Betjeman had with John Robert Colombo in the 1970s. Maybe the editors, in a kind of sub-text, are saying that this new edition of the poet's work is what is happening to Bliss Carman in 1985...

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pp. 184-188

Since at least the end of the eighteenth century, poets and thinkers in Canada have tended to align themselves with one or other of two geopolitical axes: the east-west axis of nationalism and imperialism and the north-south axis of free trade and continentalism or— for the nationalist and imperialist—betrayal. When he is in London, England...

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pp. 189-192

Following the invitation to contribute a summary statement to this volume, I began to prepare myself for a major encounter with Bliss Carman and his poetry in the following ways: (a) because it provided a good excuse for book-buying I began immediately to sound out the second-hand market and to collect for myself as many Bliss Carman titles as I could find...

A Primary and Secondary Bibliography of Bliss Carman's Work

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pp. 193-204


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pp. 205-206

E-ISBN-13: 9780776615493
E-ISBN-10: 0776615491
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776602868
Print-ISBN-10: 0776602861

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 1990

Volume Title: 16
Series Title: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers