I am referring to WWI. Pound did not "go to" WWI. And the period of "modernism" was mainly between the World Wars--though that has been challenged as limiting to England. Very little after WWII is called "modernist" in the sense used for that period. Again, one can question that, but it's not related to this discussion. And we all know that many have seen WWI as a-or-the major catalyst for "modernism."
In any case, David's point is right, though "thin" is an understatement. The student wants to emphasize Eliot's desire for tradition and the past, but that is not in opposition to the his very open and self-conscious sense of being "new" or the sense of his readers that he had fundamentally changed poetry. I think the student should have been encouraged to read a great deal more, and perhaps to start with Jewel Brooker's edition of the reviews that came out at the time.
N>>> P <[log in to unmask]>12/02/12 12:23 AM >>>
Ezra Pound also "went" to the war.
Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
David is, however, quite right. Undergraduate theses, however well done, are almost impossible to see as major contributions to scholarship. Even though they often have original insights, they are not working with sufficient research experience, and they cannot have read enough to push knowledge in the way expected of, for example, a good dissertation, and even dissertations nearly always need major rewriting and revision to be books.
In this student's abstract, for example, there is confusion about the meanings of "modernist" vs. "modernity," and it sets up a false dichotomy between "moving forward" and "moving back." Not only Eliot but nearly all major modernists also looked to the past to reinvent the present and future. So do we exclude Joyce because he structured Ulysses on the Odyssey or Yeats because he was fascinated with Byzantium or H.D. because she wrote about "Helen in Egypt" or David Jones because he keeps drawing on Y Gododdin? Eliot not only did not react against modernism; he is seen by over a century of readers and critcs (and has been since about 1915) as defining it. I don't always agree with Stallworthy, but to say he totally misunderstood Eliot is, unfortunately, silly. All of this comes from the lack of context built up over a long period of research. Ironically, "modernity" has been largely used to re-value work of the "modernist" period that was not, like Eliot's, "modernist" but did deal with the then-contemporary world. Hence the title Modernism/Modernity of a major journal. An example is the poetry of WWI: it was Paul Fussell who claimed that the great modernists who wrote about the War were not themselves the ones who fought. Of course that means the Owen, Sassoon, Thomas, and even Jones are not "modernist," but even Eliot praises the modernism of Jones. The others did not write in modernist styles (and if there is a problem, I think it is the emphasis on form itself as defining "modernist") but were great poets. And Jones did go to the War, as did Hugh MacDiarmid.
So you are both right: it is important and valuable to encourage students, but it does matter how they are encouraged. Giving the impression that they are in the same category as advanced research and/or validating a lack of clear definition, sufficient context, and new thinking is counterproductive and not a serious point for Eliot readers.
Nancy>>> "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>12/01/12 1:24 PM >>>
Still, this is a student and one must encourage such endeavors even though a student's perspective will always be limited by his or her limited experience and understanding.
The Norton Anthology is a standard compilation used in colleges to study periods of literature. Introductory and basic but if one reads it cover to cover one does get a good dosage of a period's prose and poetry, albeit edited. Not the best but not a bad starting place. The ideal of course is that the student wants more after reading a writer and goes forth into the promised land on his or her own.
As I said, encourage such stufents ventures and be compassionate of the young eager for poetry.
Sent from my iPhone
Sorry, CR, found this pretty underwhelming - readable style, yes, but rather stating the obvious, and very thin on any review of any Eliot commentary, other than this 'Norton Anthology' (which I've never read.)
On 1 December 2012 04:17, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
amazing student scholarship
CMC Senior Theses / CMC Student Scholarship / 2012
T.S. Eliot's Anti-Modernism: Poetry and Tradition
in the European Waste Land
Claremont McKenna College
most worthy of scholarly note