Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the by Ellen Levy

By Ellen Levy

"Poetry used to be declining/ portray advancing/ we have been complaining/ it used to be '50," recalled poet Frank O'Hara in 1957. Criminal Ingenuity traces a sequence of associated moments within the historical past of this move of cultural energy from the field of the note to that of the picture. Ellen Levy explores the hot York literary and paintings worlds within the years that bracket O'Hara's lament via shut readings of the works and careers of poets Marianne Moore and John Ashbery and assemblage artist Joseph Cornell. during those readings, Levy discusses such issues because the American debates round surrealism, the functionality of the "token lady" in inventive canons, and the position of the recent York urban Ballet within the improvement of mid-century modernism, and situates her significant figures when it comes to such colleagues and contemporaries as O'Hara, T. S. Eliot, Clement Greenberg, Walter Benjamin, and Lincoln Kirstein.

Moore, Cornell, and Ashbery are hooked up by means of acquaintance and affinity-and notably, by way of the ownership of what Moore calls "criminal ingenuity," a expertise for situating themselves at the fault strains that fissure the geographical regions of paintings, sexuality, and politics. As we give some thought to their lives and works, Levy exhibits, the probably really expert query of the resource and that means of the fight for strength among paintings varieties inexorably opens out to broader questions on social and creative associations and forces: the academy and the museum, professionalism and the marketplace, and that establishment of associations, marriage.

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Additional resources for Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts (Modernist Literature and Culture)

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David Bergman. : Harvard University Press, 1991. Selected Prose. Ed. Eugene Richie. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004. WORKS BY CLEMENT GREENBERG CE 1 CE 2 CE 3 CE 4 The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 1, Perceptions and Judgments, 1939–1944. Ed. John O’Brian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 2, Arrogant Purpose, 1945– 1949. The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 3, Affirmations and Refusals, 1950–1956. The Collected Essays and Criticism.

That is, “the academy” and “the museum,” on one hand, designate actually existing physical plants and the social groups assembled there, and on the other, the ideologies that simultaneously reflect and shape these social formations. Insofar as such formations both require and reproduce their proper ideological justifications, they are all “imaginary institutions,” junctions of the real and the ideal. However, insofar as artistic institutions seem to be not merely relatively autonomous, like other institutions—like “any zoo, aquarium, library, garden or volume of letters,” as Moore says—but absolutely autonomous, they may be said to be imaginary institutions par excellence, symbols of the possibility of the detachment of disinterested from interested ends.

For the victors in the struggle between the arts, this omission may seem natural, yet it only takes a slight shift of perspective to make it strange. For anyone outside the field of the visual arts, then, the question remains: what are the stakes of the conflict between “literature” and “painting”? Yet another way to pose this question might be to ask: if “literature” and “painting” are indeed allegorical figures, what are they figures for? ” In Eliot’s “Tradition,” literature stands alone as the representative of modernism’s “ideal order,” that is, its ideology, internally consistent and self-reproducing.

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