Peter Viereck Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Metapolitics: From the Romantics to Hitler (1941) is a criticism of nineteenth century Romanticism, which Peter Viereck (VIHR-ehk) argued lies at the base of Nazism. Viereck also wrote several volumes defending his variety of political conservatism, including Conservatism Revisited: The Revolt Against Revolt, 1815-1949 (1949), Shame and Glory of the Intellectuals (1953), and The Unadjusted Man (1956).


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Beginning in the 1940’s, Peter Viereck won wide recognition for his poetry, which follows the style he called Manhattan classicism. His poetry emphasizes form and rhyme and displays remarkably effective wordplay. He placed great stress on morality and used his verse to defend the humanist values he professed. Critics sometimes accused him of being overly didactic, but many consider him a major American poet. Viereck received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his poetry and won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1949, the New England Poetry Club Prize in 1998, and the Anne Sexton Poetry Prize, awarded by Agni magazine, in 1999.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Brodsky, Joseph. Foreword to Tide and Continuities: Last and First Poems, 1995-1938, by Peter Viereck. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1995. Prominent Russian-born poet Brodsky contributed a rhymed foreword to Viereck’s book. This amusing but sincere tribute contains an edifying overview of Viereck’s life and personality as well as a shrewd analysis of his contribution to literature.

Fox, Margalit. “Peter Viereck, Poet and Conservative Theorist, Dies at Eighty-nine.” The New York Times, May 19, 2006, p. A26. This obituary discusses Viereck’s life and how he made conservatism an intellectual movement. In his poetry, Fox says Viereck “combined lyrical and pastoral preoccupations with a parodic wit” that produced complex poetry that met with mixed reviews. Notes that his serious verse was better received.

Hacht, Anne Marie, ed. Poetry for Students. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Analyzes Viereck’s “Kilroy.” Contains the poem, summary, themes, style, historical context, critical overview, and criticism. Includes bibliography and index.

Hénault, Marie. Peter Viereck. New York: Twayne, 1969. A rare book-length study of Viereck’s work. It gives a relatively comprehensive account of Viereck’s poetry and prose to the date of publication, although some of the poetry is not...

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