The impersonal and elitist poetry of modernism, with its demand for knowledge of culture in a historical context and its tendencies toward academic exclusivity, is the total antithesis of the democratic, emotional,and affective goals of rock, with its vague, raw hunger and emphasis on the immediate. To some extent in repudiation of modernist ideals, rock songs find themes and literary techniques in the poetry of the nineteenth century,particularly the Victorian and Decadent. While some of the parallels may appear accidental, others are deliberate to the point of expropriation. This essay traces some of the major themes, their interrelationships, and their relevance to the understanding of both corpora.

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