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Jon Ausubel <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 10:04:56 -0500
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The thread on Pound's appearance on undergraduate/graduate syllabi, I
think, has both missed and hit the mark variously.
I myself am a well-seasoned vet of both undergrad. and grad. classes in
Modern lit.  Only in one of these classes (at U of Toronto--a huge
department with dozens of courses offered each term) has Pound received
significant time.  I think the reason, though, has less to do with
supposed objections to politics/morals than with much more mundane
fact:  Pound is hard, and given the increasingly "survey" nature of both
introductory and advanced courses because of the demolition of "the
canon," I believe many teachers find it irresponsible to devote large
blocks of time to ANY writer/work.  And more, this seems rarely to be
what students demand.
As for observations that few in their 20s and 30s have ever heard of
Pound, I would offer that few of any age have heard of anyone we might
consider important.  Certainly, when I began my BA, and even when I was
half-way through,  even though I attended an "excellent" high school, I
hadn't heard of Pound, Stevens, H.D., Lawrence, Pynchon, etc.  This
situation, I fear, is likely to get worse (from my perspective, at
least):  at the institution where I took my Ph.D., poetry classes
increasingly seem "appreciative" or writer-oriented.  Modernists retire
(or die) and are replaced by Post-colonialists, Chicano/Chicana experts,
and other "fashionable" scholars, but I suspect it has always been thus.
By the by, for those who have complained about the hideous state of
Pound scholarship, I offer this self-plug:
dissertation:  An Intention to Say Something:  Chinese Written
Characters and the Visual in Ezra Pound's _Cantos_ and Critics (1996)
article forthcoming in _Paideuma_:  Three Functions and Some Forgery:
(Mis)uses of Visual Poetics in Pound s Cantos
Jon Ausubel