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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Timothy Materer <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 11 Jan 2003 14:31:08 -0600
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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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>Which avant-garde features are to be found in Prufrock that are not to be
>found in the version of The Waste Land that Eliot showed Pound?
>Tim Romano

Good question, because I can't really follow Perloff's argument. She
believes that the avant-garde Eliot is found in the early poems
collected in the Inventions of a March Hare and Prufrock. She
analyzes Pruforck's shifting points of view, dislocated syntax and
urban setting and relates it to "Constructivist notions of 'laying
bare the device,' of using material form--in this case, language--as
an active compositional agent, impelling the reader to participate in
the process of the construction."

Gerontion and The Waste Land represent a turn away from this
avant-garde orientation. The Waste Land is "the brilliant culmination
of the poetic revolution" that began with Prufrock and not itself a
revolutionary break though. She argues that the Eliot of Prufrock is
the first poet in English who understood "Flaubert's radical doctrine
of the mot juste and the Mallarmean precept that poetry is 'language
charged with meaning'--a language as intense and multi-vocal as
possible . . . ."

In The Waste Land, the "appeal, however oblique to an outside source
of authority makes for more authorial control  . . . than the
fragmentation, parataxis, and collage structure of The Waste Land
would suggest . . . "  The "interchangeable pronouns" of Prufrock
(Let us go then, you and I) are gone; and so it is not a "'dialogic'
poem in the / Bakhtinian sense."