He does not comment" SP Detachment-"unemotional constation" SP — is one of the qualities Pound admired in the writing of Remy de Gourmont as well. As Pound stresses in his ABC of Economics, "It may be that all, or most, sciences start from suffering or from pity; but once a science is started these emotions have no place in that science" SP No place, that is, except as a possible object of inquiry. In an article on Joyce's Dubliners Pound makes it clear that the principle of objective presentation extends to "subjective things" such as feelings and impressions: "Mr Joyce writes a clear hard prose.
He deals with subjective things, but he presents them with such clarity of outline that he might be dealing with locomotives or with builders' specifications" LE For Pound the poet observes a strict neutrality; he is the "final agnostic": "The poet is consistently agnostic in this; that he does not postulate his as a positive thing. Thus his observations rest as the enduring data of philosophy. He grinds an axe for no dogma" SP But if one can't, parfois, write "as a physician, as a savant, as a historian, " if we can't write plays, novels, poems or any other conceivable form of literature with the freedom and privilege, with at least the chance of at least the scientist's verity, then where in the world have we got to, and what is the use of anything, anything?
As far as freedom is concerned, literature is centuries behind the sciences: "Literature in the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth was and is where science was in the days of Galileo and the Inquisition" LE Which of course poses a problem, for one needs to be objective: "Bloom's day is uncensored, very well.
The faecal in the hospital around the corner, is uncensored.
No one but a Presbyterian would contest the utility of the latter exactitude. A great literary masterwork is made for minds quite as serious as those engaged in the science of medicine. LE Here too Remy de Gourmont, who was "absolutely independent", a model for Pound: " 'To put down one's thought frankly, a writer's one pleasure. It was not a phrase understood superficially. It is as much the basis of a clean literature, of all literature worth the name, as is an antiseptic method, the basis of sound surgical treatment" SP A nation's freedom depends on that of the scientist: "No country can suppress truth and live well.
No people that the suppression of science either deserves to or can maintain its internal freedom" SP The scientist's freedom is also negative; that is to say, not only freedom to, but also freedom from:. It is as futile to expect a poet to get the right words, or any sort of artists to do real work, with one eye on the public, as it would be to expect the experimenter in a laboratory to advance the borders of science, if he have constantly to whether his atomic combinations are going to flatter popular belief, or suit the holders of monopolies in some overexpensive compound.
The arts and sciences hang together. Any conception which does not see them in their interrelation belittles both. What is good for one is good for the other.
Freedom entails responsibilities, however. Foremost among them is the imperative of progress. The aim of artistic freedom, for Pound, is not trivial; it is not to shock respectable opinion but rather to produce an art that is more various and precise LE -in a word richer. Precise terminology is the first implement, dish and container, After that the 9 arts. No science without clear definitions.
The words "accurate" and "precise" and their grammatical variants appear time and again in Pound's critical discourse. They define high-quality writing: "Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear" ABC 32 , just as a scientist keeps his clean and in proper working order.
Calvalcanti's work is remarkable for its "complete precision of technique"; it is performed "with the neatness of scalpel- cut" LE Guido, as Pound insists, "thought in accurate terms. But, we should add, this is not only of Guido but of his age, of what Pound terms "thirteenth exactitude" LE : that is to say, "the general precision of in an age when highbrows had very little save terminology to occupy their attention" LE Dante's precision both in the Vita Nuova and in the Commedia comes from the attempt to repro-.
Pound demands terminological exactness even in representation of "You can be wholly precise in representing a vagueness", LE 44 , even in the representation of inaccuracy8, precision in the discrimination among different kinds of indefinability "The artist discriminates [.
Terminology is of course not to be confused with science itself, as Pound is aware; it is rather the medium for registering its progress: "Terminology is not science, but every science advances by defining its terminology with ever greater precision" SP The seriousness referred to in our introduction is, for artist and scientist alike, a function of precision-even when the former is dealing with emotions: "The serious artist is scientific in that he presents the image of his desire, of his hate, of his indifference as precisely that, as precisely the image of his own desire, hate or indifference.
The more precise his record the more lasting and unassailable his work of art. Pound's advocacy of a terminological precision modelled on science provides a theoretical bridge between his esthetics and his economics. As we shall see, for Pound the social order ultimately depends on scrupulous, care for proper definition SP The imperative of precise definition is imposed by the very nature of scientific activity.
For Pound, science is preeminently knowledge of discrete phenomena. Lambasting the contemporary use of empty generalities in the study of literature, and arguing for its regrounding in "knowledge of Pound writes in his essay "The Teacher's Mission":. Observing the same mental defection in literary criticism or in proclaimed we stigmatize writing which consists of "general terms.
All teaching of literature should be performed by the presentation and juxtaposition of specimens of writing and NOT by discussion of some other discusser's opinion about the general standing of a poet or author. Any teacher of biology would tell you that knowledge can NOT by transmitted by general statement without of particulars. The literature course should adopt the empirical, hands-on approach of the laboratory session in comparative zoology: "The proper METHOD for studying poetry and good letters is the method of contemporary biologists, that is careful first-hand examination of the matter, and continual of one 'slide' or specimen with another" ABC This method of "direct examination of phenomena" ABC 20 9 , which Pound attributes to Bacon, will give the student of letters access to true knowledge, as opposed to mere professorial doxa.
The ABC of Reading, with its selected specimens or "exhibits" of poetry for the reader to scrutinize and compare, is an of this scientific approach. It is no accident that the new, scientific method Pound proposes is that of the Luminous Detail, in sharp contrast to "the method of yesterday, the method of sentiment and generalization" SP Indeed, Pound admits having "a strong disbelief in abstract and general statement as a means of conveying one's thought to others" SP 53 ; he remarks elsewhere the of abstract statement to retain meaning or utility" SP This is of course quite obvious in his early manifestoes.
The Luminous Detail is the telling fact or interpretive key that will allow "sudden insight into circumjacent conditions, into their causes, their effects, into sequence, and law" SP Furthermore, the right of such details will give us a deep understanding of a whole culture: "A few dozen facts of this nature give us intelligence of a period-a kind of not to be gathered from a great array of facts of the other sort.
These facts are hard to find. They are swift and easy of transmission. They govern as the switchboard governs an electrical circuit.
Ezra Pound: Poems Essay Questions
This approach of course places a burden on the scientist, who must be able to marshal a vast array of facts: "If you want certain results, you must as scientist examine a great many phenomena" SP This epistemology lies at the heart of Pound's ideogrammatic method, "an implement for acquisition and transmission of knowledge" that Pound describes in familiar terms: "the examination and juxtaposition of particular specimens-e.
The individual specimen, the sensuous detail, the concrete particular are the meeting-ground of science and poetry. Pound summarizes the achievement of this method thus:. True criticism will insist on the accumulation of these concrete examples, these facts, possibly small, but gristly and resilient, that can't be squashed, that insist on being taken into consideration, before the critic can hold any opinion whatsoever.
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Let us get together and consider certain facts of literature; let us mark out the categories whenever it may be convenient or possible, but not before knowing the facts i. When we know them we can discuss them-but not painting without a knowledge of Mante gna or Manet, not poetry if we dare not make comparisons.
Weights and Measures. The whole great assaying and weighing. The very concept of precision presupposes a finely calibrated system of measurement. It would not be overstating the case to say that the elaboration of such a system was one of Pound's lifelong tasks. Pound was quick to understand that what was needed was a uniform, scientific standard of for the arts. We have no standards of accuracy that an optician or a wd.
This search for such a metric explains the recurring image of the tally stick or measuring rod in Pound's critical writings SP 99,; LE 37; ABC 24, 30, 87 , as well as in The Cantos, in particular the Pisan Cantos SP It is no accident that these very letters will serve as the center of gravity, the "unwobbling pivot" of The Cantos themselves: "You can not 'place' the Jefferson save by postulating some axes of reference, and by some defined method of mensuration" SP The classics of world literature that Pound's cultural referents-everything from "Confucius to Cummings", as the title of his anthology has it-provide such benchmarks, without which even the best is impossible to appraise with any degree of precision.
A new system of measurement is needed because, in Pound's reading of history, the old order, the medieval hierarchy of distinctions has disappeared and, along with it, a wealth of expressive possibilities for the poet. What Pound wants, then, is to recreate a of evaluation" SP 19, an "idea or ideal of order", a "total culture" 1 This new "paideuma"20 would necessarily incorporate a universal system of measurement to reinstill in his contemporaries what he found to be one of Dante's surpassing qualities: "a sense of gradations' '.
That is to say, "Things neither perfect nor utterly wrong, but arranged in a cosmos, an order, stratified, having relations one with another" SP At present, however, disorder prevails, an "unholy and slithering mess" SP 91; cf. The anarchy in contemporary thought helps to account for the key oppositional role of incrementa, "fine GK 60 , "subtle gradations" SP , of distinction, differentiation, and proportion21 in Pound's discourse.
It is no accident that discrimination should be the watchword of the Poundian overview of civilization entitled "I Gather the Limbs of Osiris"; dissociation, that of the ABC of Economics. Pound's critical appraisal of the shortcomings of his early poetry might also be interpreted in this light: "I hadn't in That is to say, among other things, a language so finely gauged as to convey the precise impression. Finally we should add two examples of measures in Pound's writings.
Ezra Pound: politics, economics and writing: a study of the Cantos - Peter Nicholls - Google книги
First, technique-one of his major preoccupations as poet and a kind of yardstick: "technique is the only gauge and test of a man's lasting sincerity" SP It serves as an anti-fraud device for writing, a built-in counterfeit-detector for the greater security of the public, but also of the artist himself: "If technique is thus the protection of the public, the sign manual by which it distinguishes between the serious artist and the young person expressing his haedinus egotism, it is no less to the artist himself during the most crucial period of his ibid.
The second yardstick was to become an obsession for Pound: money. It too is a standard, a "common denominator" SP If it is metallic it is subject to assay to ensure that the coin is of specified fineness and weight" SP Right naming, we might say, is the same thing as right measurement; proper, accurate denomination is an imperative in and economics as well as in art. If words, like coins, are "constantly wearing out", then it is the supreme task of poets "to new-mint the speech" SP With both of these measures, we see that for Pound scientific methods are the best means to combat intellectual fraud and cultural decline.
Rigorous thinking is what he calls in the essay on the Jefferson-Adams an "acid test for hoakum" SP Praising the truth contained in Greek philosophy and Confucianism, Pound asserts: "You can no more fake in this company than you can fake in a science laboratory" SP The science of economics is there to expose monetary chicanery by separating the "false representation" SP from the true. The struggle against the "fraudulent use of words" C is of course also one of the major themes of The Cantos.
Ezra Pound and the Rhetoric of Address
Permanent: scientific discoveries works of art classics sp. One of the hallmarks of the scientific vocation of Pound's cultural is its universalizing capacity.
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Neither in science nor in the arts is truth confined within the narrow boundaries of nation, race, or religion:.