Edna St. Vincent Millay And Modern PoetrY

Biography: Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry, and was also known for her feminist activism. Born February 2,1892. Died October 19,1950. Husband was Eugen Jan Boissevain.

Life and Works: She had a job in insurance business and in education, named after a St. Vincent hospital, mother was a nurse, dad and mom got divorced, was raised by mother and had a younger sister, family focused on culture and literature, studied piano and theater, spoke six languages, music instructor discouraged her, she had small hands so she couldn't be a pianist like she wanted, so she pursued writing, got a bachelors art degree, Millay read her poems with passion and often used her opinions regarding politics and women's issues.

The Time Period: merica has just been through so many ups and downs during this time. World War 1 was a horrific time of death and destruction. Whole generations were killed. After the war ended, the United States entered a century of incredible prosperity and happiness. People were starting families and new lives. Toward the end of this period came some troubles within our country. Prohibition was enacted. This led so many Americans to become angry and unhappy, and also began the rise of organized crime as well. And even more sadness came with The Great Depression. The stock market crashed and completely destroyed the United States’s economy. It took all of the prosperity of the last century away in just days. In the middle of this depression, New York Gov. Franklin. D. Roosevelt was making economic opportunities for the people. His work earned him presidency in 1936, 1940, and 1944. And toward the end of his first term, Roosevelt had to lead the country in the beginnings of World War 2. This was a dark time for all parts of the world. And the beginning of a new kind of art form in Literature.

Affect On The Author: Modernism was set in motion through a series of cultural shocks. One great shocks was World War One which was looked upon with such ghastly horror that many people couldn't imagine what the world was plunging towards. Modernism displays a relatively strong sense of cohesion and similarity across genres and locales. Writers who adopted the Modern point of view often did so quite deliberately and self-consciously. Modernism is with the inner self and consciousness. Different from the Romantic world view, the Modernist cares little for Nature, being, or the overarching structures of history. Instead of progress and growth, the Modernist intelligentsia sees decay and a growing alienation of the individual.

Comparative Analysis:

Common Themes: Millay like to use archaic and latinate words and she is straightforward in expressing her emotion, ideas, and experiences which makes it hard for some people to read her poetry. Her works are better read out loud. Millay's interest in heterosexual relationships is a major theme in her poetry and Another major theme is the integrity of the individual.

Annotated Example-Travel:


By: Armonti and Baron, 3rd Period

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