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Against Gentility

Against Gentility

(p.45) Chapter Four Against Gentility
The Alvarez Generation
William Wootten
Liverpool University Press

This chapter considers works emerging from the poetic movement which formed part of a much larger picture of progression from small pockets of anti-gentility in British society and culture in the 1950s to the much more pervasive societal shift of the 1960s and 1970s. Gentility was not simply repression by politeness, it was connected to the repressions of the culture at large: the emotional and social repression of ‘libido’ or ‘evil’, ‘two world wars’, ‘concentration camps’, ‘genocide’, ‘the threat of nuclear war’. A poet needs to confront ‘the fears and desires he does not wish to face’ and gentility serves to hide from this.

Keywords:   poets, poetry, poetic movement, anti-gentility, gentility, British society, British culture

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