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TSE  January 2002

TSE January 2002

Subject:

Re: Bad manners / War poetry

From:

"frank kretschmer" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Jan 2002 00:27:17 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (111 lines)

Rick:

(sorry for typing errors, its way past midnight, but I wanted to get this
written :-) )

>I would like to know more of your dissertation.  How far along are you.  I
>notice a non US email address.  Will your dissertation be in English?

I would guess half way through. Most of the reading is done, and some of the
chapters are finished, although they need revisions in any case in sometime
a little bit more of vision I'm afraid. So far have dealt with Brooke/Owen
for the English side of the Atlantic (standard background so to speak), and
Sandburg (don't throw things at me, reading his war poetry is  worth while
.... ranging from socialist war criticism to blunt propaganda), as well as
Pound and on the American side. At the Moment I'm working on the political
Background / Newspaper propaganda Chapter (England). In id I intend to
present themes / leitmitives which the early war poetry was to take up.
(Interesting speeches of Lloyd George for instance.)

Well, and I'm planning to do a TSE Chapter, as you may have noticed. ;-)

Unfortunately, my work will come to an abrupt hold in February, because I
could not get a job at university, and are therefore - as the only possible
job alternative - begin a teachers training in February, which will - as
people tell me - leave little time for anything else.

And yes: although my English needs a lot of proof reading, the dissertation
will be in English and not in German. Students of English at German
Universities (at least this is the case for my University) are more and more
trained to write seminar papers, and stuff in English. It is necessary to
take part in an international scientific dialogue anyway.

>I am glad that you pointed to "Mauberley".  I think section IV and section
V
>of part 1 of "Mauberley" one of the very best war poems.

Depending on ones taste, really. Does this mean that the deeply personal
poems of Owen (for example) are of a lesser quality, are "not poetry but
life" as TSE would seem to imply? Let's discuss ;-)


>TSE's attitude towards enlisting strikes me as one of : "There, I tried it.
>God I'm glad they didn't want me".

Seems very much like it, does it not. As you rightly say, others hurried to
service. Even Owen writes in 1914 to his family that it is " a fine heroic
feeling being in France".


>TSE and Ezra Pound both make interesting studies in war aversion and
>avoidance.  Pound hated war, saw it as a result of bad economics and tried
>actively to produce the changes in society and economics that he thought
>would avoid war.  TSE just seemed to avoid it.

Have you ever read his Cathay Poems? Although (alleged) translations from
ancient Chinese, they make perfect comments on WWI, and were read as such by
soldiers. (Gaudier Brezka, if I'm not mistaken).

>War  fighters are into breaking and destroying real things, people and
>material things and generally making a mess.  Tradition breaking, when one
>can claim to be creating new tradition in the process, doesn't count.

Well, well, I'm not so sure ... Of course a poet who seeks to destroy
tradition (if this can be said for Eliot anyhow, but this discussion took
pace some weeks ago) does not seek to destroy life, culture, etc., as war
does. But there is something that comes into my mind which offers an
interesting parallel: I've  sent a quote form WCW to a friend the other day,
reacting to a completely different topic, but I do think it fits this
context. In it you may discover that destroying traditions and war are
pretty much alike, at least in metaphorical terms. A include it at the end
of this e-mail. Hope you don't mind. Its from "Spring and All" (1923).

By the way: If you want, you can read "Spring and All" as Williams answer to
TWL. Just compare the opening lines of TWL with the first poem of spring and
all - but this is yet another discussion, is it not ;-).

Gunnar:

I wouldn't go as far as comparing the Kippling poem to Nazi lyrics. It is
gruesome enough without the comparison. Comparing it to those Text my blind
us on the other hand to the fact that it is somewhat close even to modern
war rhetoric.

Frank


P.S.:

Here is the WCW quote.

oh meager times, so fat in everything imaginable! imagine the New World that
rises to or windows from the sea on Mondays and on Saturdays - and on every
other day of the week also. Imagine it in all its prismatic colorings, its
counterpart in our souls - or souls that are great pianos whose strings, of
honey and steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the
air great novels of adventure. Imagine the Monster project of the moment:
Tomorrow we the people of the United states are going to kill every man,
woman and child in the area west of the Carpathian Mountains (also east),
sparing none. [...] and why?

Because we love them - all. That is the secret: A new sort of murder. We
make Leberwurst of them. Bratwurst. But why, since we are ourselves doomed
to suffer the same annihilation?

[...]

The imagination, intoxicated by prohibitions, rises to drunken heights to
destroy the world. Let it rage, let it kill. The imagination is supreme. To
it all our works forever [...] are and will be dedicated.

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