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New Apocalyptics

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Title: New Apocalyptics  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of poetry groups and movements, Norman MacCaig, Apocalypse poets, British literary movements, George Sutherland Fraser
Collection: British Literary Movements, British Poetry, Literary Movements
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

New Apocalyptics

The New Apocalyptics were a poetry grouping in the UK in the 1940s, taking their name from the anthology The New Apocalypse (1939), which was edited by J. F. Hendry (1912–1986) and Henry Treece. There followed the further anthologies The White Horseman (1941) and Crown and Sickle (1944).[1]

Their reaction against the political realism of much Thirties poetry drew for support upon D. H. Lawrence (Apocalypse, 1931), surrealism, myth, and expressionism.[2]


  • The Scottish connection 1
  • Others 2
  • New Romantics? 3
  • The effects of the times 4
  • Retrospect from the 1950s 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

The Scottish connection

Others closely associated were the Scottish (as Hendry was) poets G. S. Fraser and Norman MacCaig - though the latter saw his work from Riding Lights (1955) onwards as part of "the long haul towards lucidity" after his Apocalyptic start.[3]

There was quite an overlap with the Burns Singer, and William Montgomerie. This grouping was fairly represented in Modern Scottish Poetry (1946). Welsh and Irish poets were also prominent.


The other poets in the three anthologies were Ian Bancroft, Alex Comfort, Dorian Cooke, John Gallen, Wrey Gardiner, Robert Greacen, Robert Herring, Seán Jennett, Maurice Lindsay, Nicholas Moore, Philip O'Connor, Leslie Phillips, Tom Scott, Gervase Stewart, Dylan Thomas, Vernon Watkins, and Peter Wells.

New Romantics?

A broader movement of New Romantics has been postulated, to cover many of the British poets between the 'Auden group' of the 1930s and Robert Conquest introduction to the New Lines anthology. The phrase New Romantics was used at the time, though, for example by Henry Treece; it is usually attributed to Cyril Connolly.

The effects of the times

Wartime conditions had posed great editorial difficulties, and the London operations of the publishers such as Tambimuttu, Grey Walls Press and Fortune Press had been stopgaps.

Kenneth Rexroth produced a post-war anthology covering the period, but it had little circulation in the UK. Another view was that from John Lehmann's New Writing.

Retrospect from the 1950s

By 1953 John Heath-Stubbs could write of the New Romantics as a movement of the past, though acutely singling out W. S. Graham under the heading of in it, though not of it. This was in the introduction to an anthology Images of Tomorrow, which also points out that the debate over the 'romanticism' was also a fissure within the Christian poets over style — indeed harking back to the religious and psychological depths of 'apocalypse'.

See also


  1. ^ D. Davies ed., The Penguin Companion to Literature I (1971) p. 22
  2. ^ I. Ousby ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (1995) p. 674
  3. ^ I. Ousby ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (1995) p. 582

Further reading

  • Poets of the Apocalypse (1983) by Arthur Edward Salmon; Boston Twayne Publishers,1983.
  • Personal Modernisms: Anarchist Networks and the Later Avant-Gardes (2014) by James Gifford

External links

  • Andrew Duncan's notes on 1940s British poets
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