Access to the full text of the entire article is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


The Long Poem By Jaussen, Paul

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1482-1
Published: 02/05/2017
Retrieved: 12 April 2024, from


In its most basic sense, the ‘long poem’ refers to any extended poetic work, from the long lyric to the epic. Within the context of modernism, the long poem emerged as a significant genre, channeling the authority and scope of the epic yet rejecting many traditional epic devices. Most notably, many modernist long poems abandoned narrative, replacing it with other organizational principles, ranging from symbolism to collage. The practice became particularly significant within the context of Anglo-American modernism, largely due to the influence of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, although the long poem can also be considered a transnational genre, with examples in French, such as Saint-John Perse’s Anabase (1924), and Spanish, like Federico García Lorca’s sequence Poeta en Nueva York (1940).

One of the most famous and influential examples of the genre is Eliot’s The Waste Land, published in 1922. Adapting mythological themes, literary allusions, and a symbolic framework, Eliot’s work combined the traditional historical rhetoric of earlier long poetics, from Chaucer to the Arthurian legends, with the language and concerns of World War I England.

content locked



Article DOI



Related Items

Citing this article:

Jaussen, Paul. The Long Poem. Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

Copyright © 2016-2024 Routledge.