Thursday, December 17, 2020

A must read …

Pound desired an immanent, pagan, and materialist theory of history, one that could confer permanence on history and literature without implying transcendence. … Pound wanted beauty but on a material basis. He also wanted religion. And so, he came to advocate a form of classical polytheism, believing that for “the lack of gods (plural) man suffers, or let us say he very gradually impoverishes his mind by the elimination of irreplaceable concepts.” In the same essay, he condemns Eliot’s call for a restoration of Christianity, and explains antisemitism as “revenge on the race that has brought monotheism into general European circulation.”

This is a wondrously learned and incisive essay, though James Matthew Wilson is kinder to Pound that I could be. My problem with Pound is exemplified in the passage from the Pisan Cantos that Wilson quotes, which strikes me as the worst kind of mannerism. But I just got the Kindle version of Pound's Selected Poems, since I think I ought to take another look.

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