Antimodern, Modern, and Postmodern Millay: Contexts of Revaluation

Document Type

Book Chapter


English (Scripps)

Publication Date



American Literature | Literature in English, North America | Women's Studies


In this chapter, Walker examines questions concerning renewed scholarly interest in Edna St. Vincent Millay toward the end of the twentieth century. Specifically, these questions center on whether to rethink the principles of establishing the canon of American literature--indeed, whether the poet changes literary fashions or literary fashions change the poet. Walker's answer is the latter, and her essay examines how Millay is different received through three different periods: antimodern, modern, and postmodern. She argues that whether a poet becomes central to literary study has less to do with the "quality" of the poetry than with complex cultural factors that allow us to situate poems in familiar and resonate contexts.

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© 1996 University of Pennsylvania Press

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