Making extensive use of archival materials by Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, and Anne Sexton, Amanda Golden reframes the relationship between modernism and midcentury poetry. While Golden situates her book among other materialist histories of modernism, she moves beyond the examination of published works to address poets’ annotations in their personal copies of modernist texts. A consideration of the dynamics of literary influence, Annotating Modernism analyzes the teaching strategies of midcentury poets and the ways they read modernists like T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and W. B. Yeats. Situated within a larger rethinking of modernism, Golden’s study illustrates the role of midcentury poets in shaping modernist discourse.
Amanda Golden is Associate Professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology.
"Modernism was made to be annotated. Amanda Golden shows how it was made by being annotated---in the hands of midcentury moderns who encountered and then taught Joyce, Eliot, and the rest, in college. Opening doors on the classrooms, faculty offices, and personal libraries of Plath, Berryman, and Sexton, this attentive, innovative, and surprisingly lively book shows that the marginal is central to the story of modernism in postwar America."
- Langdon Hammer, Niel Gray, Jr. Professor of English, Yale University
"Amanda Golden’s meticulously researched Annotating Modernism broadens not only our understanding of midcentury poetry’s relationship to modernism, but our understanding of literary influence itself. By focusing on the "untapped resources" of midcentury poets’ marginalia on modernist works, and their teaching notes on modernist authors, Golden makes a compelling case that modernism is an ongoing social and literary construction, both contested and promoted by the academy and the midcentury poets—Plath, Hughes, Sexton, and Berryman—who taught within it. This is a timely and necessary study that brings materialist discourse and theories of influence together in original and innovative ways."
- Heather Clark, University of Huddersfield, author of Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath (Knopf, 2020)
"Amanda Golden’s long-awaited book does not disappoint. It uncovers a neglected aspect of Hughes’s work as a university teacher in America and offers a telling comparison with Sylvia Plath’s simultaneous pedagogy… It is the result of twenty years’ detailed study in the archives and offers a model for further work in the ‘underexplored libraries’ of great modern poets. For both Hughes and Plath studies it is an invaluable trailblazer."
- Terry Gifford, Bath Spa University
"Golden expertly assembles this material evidence in support of her local readings, and of her broader claim for the role of marginalia and other personal documents in her approach to modernism... [this] study is sure to enrich our understandings of mid-century poetry, and of the coalescing modernist tradition from which it emerged."
- John K. Young, Marshall University
"Golden’s book is quite an accomplishment… the forensic detailing of how these poets worked through texts—how they understood what they read, how they attempted to translate that understanding for their students, and centrally, how they put those texts into conversation with their own poetic practice—is exhaustive and thoroughly pleasurable to read."
- Matthew Chambers, University of Warsaw
"Annotating Modernism delivers its promise of re-evaluating the significance of poets for the consolidation of the modernist discourse in academia. Thanks to extensive archival research, Golden uncovered new material that challenges our knowledge of Plath, Berryman, Sexton and Hughes as careful readers of the Modernists... As a bonus, readers who are also educators will find out that this book will make them reconsider (and probably improve) their teaching practices. For all these reasons, Annotating Modernism is a convincing case that what remains in the margins can be of the utmost importance."
- Julie Irigaray, The University of Huddersfield (TMR)
"[Annotating Modernism] delivers an engrossing presentation of the legacies and constructions of modernism in the long twentieth century, establishing networks of influence… Ultimately, we are treated to a sweeping study that spans poets and archives from the second half of the twentieth century, as it searches for, presents, and animates the imprints and reformulations of modernism and contemporary literature."- Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus