The Limits of American Literary Ideology in Pound and by Cary Wolfe

By Cary Wolfe

This research analyzes the facility, attract, and results of radical individualism and the type of cultural critique it generates within the significant determine of yankee Romanticism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the important determine of yankee modernism, Ezra Pound. either writers got down to criticize and heal the dissociation of ethics, economics, and politics that they observed because the alienating cultural final result of capitalism. yet simply because their imaginative and prescient of the inalienable person was once modeled at the constitution and common sense of non-public estate, they reproduced the very contradictions and alienations that they got down to critique and triumph over of their bold cultural initiatives.

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86 Pound would not have been disturbed in the least to hear that Frost's people would not have wanted much to meet him either. IN DEFENSE OF "WHIM" The reviews of Frost are only a conspicuous, because (as it turns out) canonical, example of the early Pound's literary ideology at work. "87 But what art communicates, and what peace consists of, is the kind of individual and social difference Pound had encouraged in booming Frost: "This communication is not a levelling," he writes, "it is not an elimination of differences.

So it is that Emerson enjoins us to break free every day, every moment - from objects and institutions, which we must leave in our wake. Thus, Emerson's inaugural vision of the American self is bent on radical rupture, not liberal revision. In the fiery polemical form of the early essays, the truth of the Emersonian man is not subject to liberal tinkering - it is all or nothing. It is clear, then, that the Emersonian break with history - and with those objects that embody its threat to make the American self a repetition of that history - constitutes the primal scene of the American individual not as a narrative moment but as a lyric one.

The chief benefit of reading them is this. " 44 Emerson was no friend of that precision and demarcation which resists the boiling down of radiant gists to "unbounded undistinguished abstraction"45 - "undistinguished" as philosophy because the particulars of which it is composed are themselves "undistinguished" in another sense, their differences not respected but obliterated. 47 Even though Pound found Emerson's technique an affront to his aesthetic values, the same cannot be said of their shared political intent.

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