By Blanton, Charles Daniel
"Epic Negation examines the dialectical flip of modernist poetry over the interwar interval, arguing that overdue modernism inverts the tactic of Ezra Pound's "poem together with heritage" to conceive a negated mode of epic, predicated at the encryption of disarticulated historic content material. pressured to sign in the strength of a totality it can't signify, this negated epic reorients the functionality of poetic language and reference, remaking the poem, and overdue modernism normally, as a severe software of dialectical cause. half I reads The Waste Land along the assessment it prefaced, The Criterion, arguing that the poem establishes the editorial technique with which T.S. Eliot constructs the review's totalizing account of tradition. Dividing the epic's severe functionality from its variety, Eliot not just contains background another way, but in addition formulates an intricately dialectical account of the interwar drawback of bourgeois tradition, shaped within the photo of a Marxian critique it opposes. half II turns to the second one war's onset, tracing the dislocated formal results of an epic long gone underground. within the elegies and pastorals of W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice, lyric kinds expose the making a choice on strength of unmentionable yet common occasions, dividing adventure opposed to realization. With H.D.'s battle trilogy, produced in a terse trade with Freud's Moses, even the poetic picture lapses, associating epic with the silent old strength of the subconscious as such"-- Read more...
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Additional info for Epic negation : the dialectical poetics of late modernism
Considered singly, each item constitutes a disposable discourse, formed on some matter of merely passing interest. Integrated within the review, however, they begin to amass a significance that none could achieve alone. The effect is more pronounced in the concluding July number, where Eliot includes— beside small selections by Yeats, Owen Barfield, E. M. ” Among all the other incidental connections framed by the review’s early issues, this one forms a definitive arc, creating a finite textual span between Eliot’s project and Pound’s, even while laying the argumentative groundwork for a reinstrumentalized critical poetics.
This is not to reduce the significance of Eliot’s poetic work, but conversely to gauge the fundamental importance of a poetics that The Waste Land can only announce, so large as to An Organ of Documentation 31 evade direct critical summation. There is a paradox of sublimity here. Unlike The Waste Land, or even The Cantos, The Criterion presents a text that remains, in principle and largely in fact, unreadable. 18 Even were summary possible, the review’s simple form—produced by hundreds of hands, digesting material originating in multiple languages, spanning diverse historical moments, driven by Eliot’s eccentric private concerns and those of his regular correspondents—unmoors even the most adventurous critical protocols.
But insofar as the poem’s fundamental mechanism of signification lies beyond or beneath the range of inscribed effects visible on the page, grounded in some other text, Eliot’s method divides the structure of the poem against itself. 16 As we will see, The Waste Land operates more essentially as a de-circumscription of poetic language, simultaneously 28 EPIC NEGATION impoverishing the sensuous or aesthetic stratum of unmediated sense—what its language manifestly says or means—and reinvesting the poem’s hermeneutic operations elsewhere, in a theoretically interminable act of critical reconstruction.
Epic negation : the dialectical poetics of late modernism by Blanton, Charles Daniel