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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pound the Romantic

Here is a free idea for you. It would be a good dissertation, if it hasn't been used already. If you choose to use it, all I ask is that you acknowledge me at some point and sign over your first-born child.

Typically, the discourse around Pound is "neo-classicist," emphasizing rationality, etc... In contrast, most of the deconstructionist and Yale-school theorists have championed a neo-Romantic lineage based on Wallace Stevens. See Perloff's "Pound / Stevens: Whose Era?" Your task would be to read Pound against the grain by uncovering his Romantic lineage, which come in the form of his longing for an organic order and in the eccentricity of his cultural syncretism.


undine said...

And then there's also lower-case "pound the romantic," which would be a fabulous double-meaning title, too.

Vance Maverick said...

I'm not up on this, but isn't it conventional to trace him out of Browning and various decadents? And isn't Yeats such another who looks both Romantic and Modern depending on the slant of light?

Thomas said...

I think the most interesting part of this dissertation would be its review of the literature. Is it really true that Pound scholarship emphasizes its "rational" aspect? I agree with what you say about the Yale School (I mostly know Bloom, who is clearly romantic-leaning). I wonder if the problem arises because Pound had to be excluded because of his politics. And those who promoted him had to do so in spite of his politics.

To read Pound as a "romantic" is either to valorize his fascism or to denigrate the Romantics (as proto-fascist). But I think it's really odd to emphasize the "rationality" of Pound ... except of course in post-1968 culture where it is presumed that Reason is basically a totalitarian impulse, and romance always liberates.


A curious coincidence. I've been reading The Last Rover lately. Heymann quotes a letter from Pound to Ronald Duncan in which he says that poets have "swallow" radio "or be boa-constricted". I thought of this when I saw Hartman's description of some of his peers as "boa-deconstructors" in the Wikipedia article.