WALT WHITMAN, JOURNAL ENTRY, 1850's:
"Make no quotations and no references to other writers . . . take no illustrations whatsoever from the ancients or classics . . . nor from the royal and aristocratic institutions and forms of Europe. Make no mention or allusion to them whatsoever, except as they relate to the new, present things -- to our country -- to American character or interests."
"Then out of the blue The Dial brought out The Waste Land and all our hilarity ended. It wiped out our world as if an atom bomb had been dropped upon it and our brave sallies into the unknown were turned to dust.WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS, from a letter:
"To me especially it struck like a sardonic bullet. I felt at once that it had set me back twenty years, and I'm sure it did. Critically Eliot returned us to the classroom just at the moment when I felt that we were on the point of an escape to matters much closer to the essence of a new art form itself -- rooted in the locality which should give it fruit. I knew at once that in certain ways I was most defeated.
"Eliot had turned his back on the possibility of reviving my world. And being an accomplished craftsman, better skilled in some ways than I could ever hope to be, I had to watch him carry my world off with him, the fool, to the enemy."
"The poem, to me (until I go broke) is an attempt, an experiment, a failing experiment, toward assertion with broken means but an assertion, always, of a new and total culture, the lifting of an environment to expression. Thus it is social, the poem is a social instrument."