Poetics of the Fall

Project Status: Current
People Involved: Sean Pryor

This project is the first major investigation of the poetics of the fall in modernism.

It will show how the need to conceive modern life as fallen, and the painful inability to offer salvation, determined the development of modernist poetry. The aim is to establish an original critical methodology through the concept of fallenness, arguing that a sense of self-imposed suffering and evil conditioned poetry’s experimental forms, aesthetic logic, and ethical functions.

Analyses of unexamined historical and manuscript material, together with detailed close readings of poetic form, will deliver a crucial re-evaluation of modern poetics and, more broadly, will illuminate our secular society’s adaptation of religious traditions.