German Romantic Tradition in John Ashbery’s "Where Shall I Wander"
In popular critical and readerly reception, the New York School of poetry was shaped mostly by what Marjorie Perloff calls the tradition of indeterminacy. This was started by Arthur Rimbaud and, a few decades later, developed by Dadaists and Surrealists. Therefore, the tradition of French modernism seems to have been vital for John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, James Schuler, and Barbara Guest, and the poets themselves appeared to confirm this fact. They often visited France privately and as scholars, and lived there for extended periods of time. In the case of John Ashbery, his year-long Fulbright fellowship was prolonged to a decade. Moreover, the New York School poets contributed to the propagation of French literature, being translators, critics and editors of French authors. However, as John Ashbery’s late works prove, literary genealogies are far more complex. German Romantic tradition always exerted an important influence on John Ashbery, and it inspired the New York experimenter to contribute two major poems to the twenty-first century American literature: “Where Shall I Wander” and “Hölderlin Marginalia”.
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