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223 RANDOM CONFERENCE NOTES We have in the past chiefly concerned ourselves with defining and describing the ELT period. My own conviction is that description and definition should always precede analysis, interpretation, and critical evaluation. This year's Conference will, I hope, concentrate more on analysis, interpretation, and critical evaluation. Professor Lester's study of ecstasy is, of course, partly descriptive, but It also suggests some bases for interpretation. Professor Munro specifically concerns himself with analysis and critical evaluation of one writer's work. Both papers raise several crucial problems relevant to much of the literature published between 1880 and 1920. Most of the ELT authors are faced with the problem of discovering, devising, or adapting suitable techniques for the expression of new attitudes and for incorporating in their work new subject matter. Thus, while attempts to express moments of ecstasy can be traced back to classical Greece, changes in religious attitudes and the advent of the new psychology and new theories of evolution brought about changes in the nature of the ecstatic moment and the ways of expressing it. We might therefore ask, How successfully did ELT writers confront these challenges? We might ask, How significant is some of their pioneer work for the writers who followed them (eg, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and others)? These questions in turn imply a question which, it seems to me, is more explicit in Professor Munro's paper on Symons. Do the ELT authors, especially the poets, excel 1 more as theorists than as creative artists? If this Is so, specifically in what way does their creative work fail? Even If there is no Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, or T. S. Eliot among the ELT poets, are there nevertheless some really good poets? More specifically, how shall we rate such poets as John Davidson, Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson, Arthur Symons, Oscar Wilde, W. E. Henley, Rudyard Kipling, the so-called Trench Poets, the Georgian Poets, and many others? Do they hold up well only in groups, as "schools" or are some, at least, defensible as individual talents? How do these poets compare with the earlier writers of vers de sod ele? with the pre-Raphaelites? with some of the poets of the postWorld War I generation? —HEG ...


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