Winter 1958 • Vol. XX No. 1 Nonfiction |

The New University Wits

Generally speaking, the new University Wits employ something similar to an Augustan manner. Theirs is a poetry in reaction to what John Wain has called "the mushy manner of the 'forties." They frequently employ the villanelle, terza rima, and the end-stopped iambic pentameter. By and large their language is lucid, more lucid than modern poetry has been since its beginnings. Mr. Hilary Corke has written1 a satiric description of this new manner: The recipe for this type of poetry is simple. Read five hundred lines of Dryden till you have the "noble, frank, and manly" rhythm pat; choose any theme more proper to critical prose; garnish with two chic philosophical terms, three classical references (minor writers, please!) and half a dozen rather naughty ones; deluge in an espagnole of Total Knowingness, and serve up in villanelle or terza rima. Mr. Corke is witty, but his characterization is not as neat and exact as his tone would imply it to be. A useful anthology for get

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