Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 125

Ushant reflects the tone of the early twentieth century, a time of artistic discovery and creativity for American artists of the modernist group. Aiken was an important poet, one whose poetry was highly subjective and autobiographical and one who relied on musical elements, an oddly ironic humor, and a powerful...

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Ushant reflects the tone of the early twentieth century, a time of artistic discovery and creativity for American artists of the modernist group. Aiken was an important poet, one whose poetry was highly subjective and autobiographical and one who relied on musical elements, an oddly ironic humor, and a powerful love of life to shape his work. All these elements are present in Ushant, and with them is Aiken’s strong attraction to the abstract and the divine essence at the center of everything. Aiken felt modern man’s need for roots and the “rage for order,” as did his contemporaries Eliot and Wallace Stevens, and it is in this book that he makes his spiritual journey, shared with everyone, leading toward that “indecipherable land.”

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