Bad Modernisms by Douglas Mao, Rebecca L. Walkowitz

By Douglas Mao, Rebecca L. Walkowitz

Modernism is sizzling back. on the sunrise of the twenty-first century, poets and designers, designers and critics, academics and artists are rediscovering the virtues of the former century’s so much vivid cultural constellation. but this frequent include increases questions about modernism’s relation to its personal good fortune. Modernism’s “badness”—its emphasis on outrageous habit, its elevation of negativity, its refusal to be condoned—seems necessary to its energy. yet as soon as modernism is accredited as “good” or precious (as loads of modernist paintings now is), its prestige as a subversive aesthetic intervention turns out undermined. The individuals to undesirable Modernisms tease out the contradictions in modernism’s dedication to badness.

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While Pound was drafting the talk, Dorothy Shakespear suggested that he claim to be "a re-incarnation [of a troubadour] so you know," but instead Pound employed what he called the method of "visionary interpretation" to translate himself back into the age of Arnaut Daniel. In the lecture, he explained his theory of the "phantastikon": "the consciousness of some seems to rest, or to have its center more properly, in what the Greek psychologists called the phantastikon. " In a letter to Harriet Monroe, Pound explained the word in a slightly less esoteric manner: "It is what Imagination really meant before the term was debased presumably by the Miltonists, tho' probably before them.

Synge had appeared. There is a new strength in the later Yeats on which he & Synge may have agreed between them. Poems like "The Magi" & "The Scholars," and "No Second Troy" have in them a variety that the earlier work had not. Pound wrote these sentences in 1915 for an aborted book called This Generation; had he published them, our sense of his role in Yeats's artistic development might have been quite different. Over the last fifty years, Pound's supposed influence on the Yeats of Responsibilities has become part of the mythology of literary modernism, primarily because of the well-known story of Pound's minor revisions of poems Yeats offered to Poetry magazine late in 1912.

I wish he'd get thru' lecturing before I get back. I don't want to be any more evangelized than I am already—which is too dam' much. " Yeats was the man Pound was after, not Tagore, and his need for Yeats's support and approval only grew stronger as they approached their first winter together at Stone Cottage. By sequestering himself in the country with Yeats, Pound was finally able to recreate the aspect of the Rhymers' Club that he admired most: the sense of a poetic aristocracy, meeting in private, ignoring the demands of a vastly inferior public.

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