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The Poetry of the PossibleSpontaneity, Modernism, and the Multitude$
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Joel Nickels

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676088

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676088.001.0001

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“An Instantaneous Sympathy of Communication”

“An Instantaneous Sympathy of Communication”

Laura Riding and the Politics of Spontaneity

(p.133) 3 “An Instantaneous Sympathy of Communication”
The Poetry of the Possible

Joel Nickels

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the idea of spontaneity as developed by modernist Laura Riding. Riding’s political ontology revolves around her critique of vanguard social movements and their promises to unite the public and the private spheres by way of their representational apparatuses. Riding argues that the image of the intellectual or the party emerging from some socially “unlocatable” stratosphere and then merging with the multitude is not one of social healing. This maneuver simply perpetuates the gendered split between the world of public values and the world of socially embedded existence. Additionally, Riding’s poetry prompts us to imagine a form of social affect characterized as much by critique, meditation, and reciprocal limitation as by intersubjective creativity.

Keywords:   spontaneity, modernist, Laura Riding, vanguard social movements, social healing, poetry

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