Introduction

Stuart Davis

Much of early Modernist poetry is in response to the disorder of the modern world. The early 20th century saw the collapse of historical power structures, the waste of World War I, the loss of faith in social and economic institutions, and the rise of totalitarian regimes in Europe, industrialization, the exposure of the weaknesses in the capitalist system, and a general dissatisfaction with society, civilization, and the structures that previously kept the world in some form of order. This exhibit will examine how four poets, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Gertrude Stein respond to the disorder that ensued from the removal of the old world order.