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Modernism Under Review: Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era

Modernism Under Review: Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era <jats:p> This essay offers a critical re-assessment of Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era. It argues that Kenner's magisterial survey remains important to our understanding of Modernism, despite its frankly partisan viewpoint. Kenner's is an insider's account of the Anglo-American Modernist writing that he takes to have been significant because it sought to invent a new language consonant with the ethos of the twentieth century. The essay suggests that Kenner's impeccable attention to the Modernist renovation of language goes beyond formalism, since, for him, its ‘patterned energies’ (a term derived from Buckminster Fuller's theory of knots) relate Modernism to the larger complex of artefacts within which it functions and, beyond these, to what he takes to be the great works of the past and to the scientific-technological inventions of the present. But the essay also points out that Kenner's is an eccentric canon, which makes no room for Forster, Frost, Lawrence, or Stevens. Furthermore, Kenner's emphasis on the First World War as a great cultural rupture, while plausible, works less well for Joyce and Williams than it does for Pound and Eliot. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Modernism Under Review: Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era

Modernist Cultures , Volume 5 (2): 181 – Oct 1, 2010

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2010
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2010.0102
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> This essay offers a critical re-assessment of Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era. It argues that Kenner's magisterial survey remains important to our understanding of Modernism, despite its frankly partisan viewpoint. Kenner's is an insider's account of the Anglo-American Modernist writing that he takes to have been significant because it sought to invent a new language consonant with the ethos of the twentieth century. The essay suggests that Kenner's impeccable attention to the Modernist renovation of language goes beyond formalism, since, for him, its ‘patterned energies’ (a term derived from Buckminster Fuller's theory of knots) relate Modernism to the larger complex of artefacts within which it functions and, beyond these, to what he takes to be the great works of the past and to the scientific-technological inventions of the present. But the essay also points out that Kenner's is an eccentric canon, which makes no room for Forster, Frost, Lawrence, or Stevens. Furthermore, Kenner's emphasis on the First World War as a great cultural rupture, while plausible, works less well for Joyce and Williams than it does for Pound and Eliot. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2010

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