Download The Limits of American Literary Ideology in Pound and by Cary Wolfe PDF

By Cary Wolfe

This research analyzes the facility, attract, and effects of radical individualism and the type of cultural critique it generates within the significant determine of yankee Romanticism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the important determine of yank modernism, Ezra Pound. either writers got down to criticize and heal the dissociation of ethics, economics, and politics that they observed because the alienating cultural end result of capitalism. yet simply because their imaginative and prescient of the inalienable person used to be modeled at the constitution and good judgment of personal estate, they reproduced the very contradictions and alienations that they got down to critique and triumph over of their bold cultural tasks.

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Emerson could not have imagined it, but in another sense no one could have imagined it more fully. " 36 It is an ideology shared, in surprising detail and with similar ambivalence, by Ezra Pound in the period up to 1918, and its conceptual contradictions and formal problems in part determine, but also set into sharp contrast, the later Pound and his long shadow. That Emerson's first principle might serve as the ideological backbone of Pound's early social critique is difficult to see for all sorts of reasons.

16 For Emerson, materialism always harbors this threat: The creative and original man creates that which inhibits creativity and originality, and the dynamic principle of the "new man" is betrayed when it is captured and reified by the by-products of the active self. " "The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to 22 LIMITS OF AMERICAN LITERARY IDEOLOGY the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal/'17 The form - whether book or social institution - may change, society may "progress," but the substance that creates it does not.

S. 72 This is significant, I think, because it indicates that his efforts on Frost's behalf were conducted not because Frost's work held up a mirror to his own proclivities but rather because this worn American had achieved an individuality of voice and production as far as could be from Pound's own, one that needed not only to be respected but to be actively promoted because of, not in spite of, its difference. 73 It is the lack of aesthetic common ground between the two men that makes these two short pieces particularly revealing in the context of Pound's early project.

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