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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 3 Sep 2000 22:54:58 +0000
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Michael Springate <[log in to unmask]>
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I immediately responded to your most recent post, intuitively agreeing with it,
although I would be harded pressed to know what specifically you are refering
to in terms of "negative capability", or "middle-class merkan egoism".

But there is a "pose of authenticity", and I think that phrase captures much of
the tone, a tone which becomes, for me at least, more prevalent, not less, as
one reads the work over the years.

I don't know why you call it the logical culmination of romanticism, although
it is, I think, wrapped in the failures of romanticism. Is there a logical
culmination of romanticism?

Just curious, do you clearly distinguish the "enlightenment" from
"romanticism", or do they meld in your mind? I ask because I wonder if you
would say that the Cantos are the "logical culmination of the enlightenment"?

I think one of the things I have learned from reading the last months of
postings, or learned again, is that many readers actually like Pound as the
failed romantic, it fits with the ethos of the "age" (as brilliantly defined by
Pound in his earlier poems, Mauberley et al, and a certain reading of the Pisan
Cantos), essentially a nostalgia for a noble and soulful rebellion of Human
Greatness, but when En Lin Wei argues a strong positive value for Pound, that
is, a  developed Confucianism (with all of its anti-democratic and elitist
underpinnings, to which Wei, but not all, will object), then those same readers
tend to squawk. Not, I think, because the Confucianism isn't there, but because
they don't want Pound's image as somone bearing the burden of the romantic
impulse in a modern age to be lost.

In other words, what is regarded as positive about Pound is his essentialy
romantic failure, and to re-interpret his work outside of that framework will
meet with sustained resistance.

The challenge that Wei puts clearly is that Pound may in fact be what he seems
to have wanted to become, not a failed romantic, but a strong supporter of
hiearchical values based on  conservative ideas of how merit and virtue are to
be defined in all societies.



bob scheetz wrote:

> tim,
>      sadly,  i think you are finally right about the
> narcissism/exhibitionism (vanity) as the pound-ian arch-trope.
> there is an relentlessly idiotic (original gk sense) structure
> which he clearly cultivated...and which is impenetrable
> ...a specific lack of negative capability, a middle-class merkan egoism,
> posing as "authenticity", the logical
> culmination of romanticism, which has blighted
> most of modernism, no?
> thanks,
> bob