The Celestial Tradition: A Study of Ezra Pound's The Cantos by Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos

By Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos

regardless of the painstaking paintings of Pound students, the mythos of The Cantos has but to be accurately understood — basically simply because earlier its occult assets haven't been tested sufficiently. Drawing upon archival in addition to lately released fabric, this examine lines Pound’s intimate engagement with particular occultists (W.B. Yeats, Allen Upward, Alfred Orage, and G.R.S. Mead) and their rules. the writer argues that speculative occultism used to be a significant factor within the evolution of Pound’s remarkable aesthetic and spiritual sensibility, a lot spotted in Pound feedback.

The dialogue falls into sections. the 1st part information Pound’s curiosity specifically occult activities. It describes the culture of Hellenistic occultism from Eleusis to the current, and establishes that Pound’s touch with the occult all started at the very least as early as his undergraduate years and that he got here to London already primed at the occult. lots of his London associates have been definitely occultists.

the second one part outlines a tripartite schema for The Cantos (katabasis/dromena/epopteia) which, in flip, is utilized to the poem. it's argued the following that The Cantos is established at the version of a initiation instead of a trip, and that the poem doesn't loads describe an initiation ceremony as enact one for the reader.

In exploring and trying to comprehend kilos’ occultism and its implications to his [Pounds’] oeuvre, Tryphonopoulos sheds new gentle upon one of many nice works of contemporary Western literature.

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Additional info for The Celestial Tradition: A Study of Ezra Pound's The Cantos

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He arrived in London in September 1908, attracted, he said later, by the prospect of meeting William Butler Yeats, whom he considered to be the most important poet alive. 1 Pound boasts of his intimacy with Yeats in a May 1911 letter to his father: "Yeats I like very much. I've seen him a great deal, almost daily. .. "2 At the time of his first acquaintance with Pound, Yeats was, as indeed he was throughout his adult life, actively involved in the occult movement. 3 The most important and lasting of all the occult influences in Yeats's case was probably that exerted by Theosophy.

Becomes closely associated with the idea of recollection and reconstitution of the gnosis of the "ancient wisdom" (SP 57). 27 The rediscovery of or return to the polytheistic ethos of pagan and Hellenistic esoteric rituals is, as noted earlier, the basis of Pound's admiration for Plethon. At the same time, Pound's conception of gnosis is closely linked with the cognizance of the divine ("full £1865"), rooted for him in ordinary sensory experience. In addition, ritual sex and the significance of pagan ceremonies and sun festivals are central to his idea of what constitutes gnosis.

A year after initiation (myesis), the mystes (initiate) could attain the degree of epopteia (the stage of "having seen" the mystery) by participating in a sort of liturgical drama (drama mystikon) whose subject is usually thought to have been the acting out of the sexual union of Demeter and Zeus (an hierosgamos), with the priestess of Demeter and the Hierophant as protagonists. " Whatever its exact nature (and there is much controversy as to the exact nature of the Eleusinian rites11), the myesis had a tripartite character: katabasis/ dromena/epopteia, of which I will have more to say in a subsequent chapter.

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