By Clive Bloom, Brian Docherty
This selection of in particular commissioned essays brings jointly prime students and critics to outline the yank Modernist canon, supplying various views useful to all these attracted to this attention-grabbing poetry.
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Extra resources for American Poetry: The Modernist Ideal (Insights)
The notion is determinant for some of the ways in which we may read the structuring of certain modernist practices by commodity forms. These practices find their earliest expression in the Mauberley sequence, where the idea of 'surface', crucially freed from its illusory opposition to depth, provides a strategic force. 2 Our object of study, taking 28 Ezra Pound 29 'Medallion', the final poem of the sequence, as exemplary, will be modernism's decentring of the self, or, more accurately, the self's presentation.
72) And secondly, the variousness of self that is liberated by these new notions of surface: the 'nearly numberless' combinations o: line and colour in cosmetics enable a woman to 'realise her moods in all their shades and lights and dlappledoms, to live many lives and masquerade through many moments of joy' (p. 78). Beerbohm's Ezra Pound 33 latter point here locates the main thrust of surface's variousness as imaged generally by the line of thought, during the late nineteenth century, that Pound draws upon for his conception of Mauberley's character- the clearest instances are Pater's view of 'La Giaconda' and Wilde's 'The Truth of Masks'.
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. My quotations are taken from the Library of America edition of Pierre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) pp. 329,330,332. See Ian F. A. Bell, 'A Mere Surface: Wyndham Lewis, Henry James and the "Latitude" of Hugh Sellvyn Mauberley', Paideuma, xv (Fall and Winter 1986) pp. 53-71. Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1918) pp. ix-x. Henry James, A Small Boy and Others (London: Macmillan, 1913) p. 73. The best recent discussion of these changes in the context of nineteenth-century America is Karen Halttunen, Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830-1870 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1982).