The Movement (literature)
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The Movement was a term coined by J. D. Scott, literary editor of The Spectator, in 1954 to describe a group of writers including Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, D.J. Enright, John Wain, Elizabeth Jennings, Thom Gunn, and Robert Conquest. The Movement was essentially English in character; poets in Scotland and Wales were not generally included.
The Movement emerged with the decline of the New Apocalyptics poetry after World War I with its main member being Donald Alfred Davie. While considered a literary group, The Movement was viewed as less of a group by its members and as more of an actual movement in which each writer shared a common purpose. The goal of The Movement was to write poetry that was anti-Romantic and structured, avoiding poetry that was experimental in format and text. From 1945-1955 The Movement was published through various magazines, the main magazine being The Spectator.
The Movement was important in that it created a new way of looking at the world based on Britain’s reduced control in world politics. The purpose of the group was to show the importance of British poetry over the new Modernist poetry. The members of The Movement were not anti-Modernists, however they were opposed to Modernism which was reflected in the Englishness of their poetry. It was The Movement which sparked the division between different types of British poetry. Their poems were nostalgic for the former Britain and are filled with pastoral images of the decaying way of life as Britain moves farther from the rural and more towards the urban.
Representative collections 
The Movement produced two anthologies: Poets of the 1950s (1955) (editor D. J. Enright, published in Japan) and New Lines (1956). Conquest, who edited the New Lines anthology, described the connection between the poets as 'little more than a negative determination to avoid bad principles.' These 'bad principles' are usually described as excess, both in terms of theme and stylistic devices. Poets in the original New Lines anthology in 1956 included Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest, Donald Davie, D. J. Enright, Thom Gunn, John Holloway, Elizabeth Jennings, Philip Larkin, and John Wain.
The polemic introduction to New Lines targeted in particular the 1940s poets, the generation of Dylan Thomas and George Barker — though not by name. A second New Lines anthology appeared in 1963, by which time The Movement seemed to some a spent force, in terms of fashion; the 'underground' in the shape of The Group, and the more American-influenced style of the Al Alvarez anthology The New Poetry having come to the fore. Ironically, interest in "The Movement" renewed in the early nineties, primarily in America, with the rise of the New Formalism and increased public interest in the work of Philip Larkin.
The Movement poets were considered anti-Romantic, but we find many Romantic elements in Larkin and Hughes. We may call The Movement the revival of the importance of form. To these poets, good poetry meant simple, sensuous content, and traditional, conventional and dignified form.
In 1963, a sequel to the original New Lines anthology, titled New Lines 2 was published. It included many of the authors from the original anthology as well as younger English poets like Thomas Blackburn, Edwin Brock, Hilary Corke, John Fuller, Ted Hughes, Edward Lucie-Smith, Anthony Thwaite, and Hugo Williams.
The "Angry Young Men" movement occurred in 1956 during the turning point of The Movement. The reason for The Movement’s decline was the publication of the New Lines anthology. Once the New Lines anthology was published the group became less exclusive. There was no longer a need for the members of The Movement to fight and defend each other’s work as they had become accepted members of the literary world. The Movement’s decline in the 1960s was succeeded by “The Group” whose members included Philip Hobsbaum, Alan Brownjohn, Adrian Mitchell, Peter Porter, Edward Lucie-Smith and George MacBeth, Ian Hamilton’s Review school and Michael Horovitz’s “Children of Albion”. “The Group” was the most similar to The Movement as they shared similar ideas about the form and seriousness of Modernist poetry.
- Enright, D. J. (editor) Poets of the 1950s: an anthology of new English verse, Tokyo, Kenkyusha, 1955
- Morrison, Blake, The Movement, Oxford University Press, 1980
- "The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature - Google Books". Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
- "The Movement: English Poetry and Fiction of the 1950's - Blake Morrison - Google Books". Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
- David Lodge wrote: Dylan Thomas was made to stand for everything they detested: verbal obscurity, metaphysical pretentiousness, and romantic rhapsodizing. From Working with Structuralism (1981) p.9.