Machine Art and Other Writings

The Lost Thought of the Italian Years

Machine Art and Other Writings
Book Pages: 192 Illustrations: 30 b&w photographs Published: August 1996

Subjects
Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Machine Art and Other Writings presents previously unpublished and rare writings by one of the literary giants of the modernist period, Ezra Pound. Written from the late 1920s to the early part of the 1940s, these essays, selected by Maria Luisa Ardizzone and including “Machine Art,” “How To Write,” “European Paideuma,” and “Pragmatic Aesthetics,” are typically Poundian in style—irascible, eccentric, and by turns both engaging and cryptic. Importantly, these essays from Pound’s Italian years shed light both on the sections of the Cantos written in the late 1940s and on the underpinnings of his well-known anti-Semitism.
The essays in this volume address Pound’s diverse aesthetic concerns, including his Vorticism and his criticism of Western metaphysics, his advancement of the machine as a new criterion for beauty, his encounter with the German Bauhaus movement, and his search for a type of writing ruled by mathematical rather than grammatical laws. Machine Art and Other Writings documents the wide proportions of Pound’s polemic against the abstractions of modernism and reveals the extent to which he was at odds with the metaphysical assumptions of his time. The volume, edited by Ardizzone, is the result of years of systematic and intensive study of Pound’s manuscripts, including glosses from the texts of his personal library. Proposing an unconventional approach to Pound studies that focuses on marginality and intertextuality, she subverts the canonical hierarchy of Pound’s works by revealing the power of texts considered marginalia.
General readers, students and scholars in the fields of European and American modernism, aesthetics, the history of technology, and art history, as well as Pound specialists and the many poets and writers influenced by Pound, will greet the publication of Machine Art and Other Writings with interest and anticipation.

Praise

Machine Art displays both the genial, word-spouting Pound, infectious in his enthusiasms, and the solitary thinker becoming prey to his own obsessions.” — Iain Bamforth, Times Literary Supplement

Machine Art and Other Writings helps document an underemphasized side of Pound’s mind. Intensely interesting in their own right, these essays deserve to be better known.” — Hugh Kenner, The University of Georgia


“Ardizzone moves with ease between the intricacies of Aristotle’s metaphysics and the complexities of Pound’s thought. She is a consummate researcher as well, having collected relevant notes, marginalia, and glosses. Her work on Pound in this crucial period will remain definitive for many years to come.” — John Freccero, New York University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ezra Pound (1885–1972) is one of the most influential literary figures of the twentieth century. His opinions and literary achievements forcibly shaped the modernist movement. He is the author of many familiar works, including Personae, ABC of Reading, and Cantos. Maria Luisa Ardizzone teaches Italian Literature at New York University and is the author of Ezra Pound e lascienza.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 1

Machine Art

Machine Art (1927-1930) 57

How to Write

How to Write (1930) 87

Addedna (c. 1928-1937) 110

A Problem of (Specifically) Style (1934) 122

Ogden and Debabelization (1935) 126

European Paideuma

European Paideuma (1940) 131

Convenit esse Deos (c. 1940-1942) 135

[Catholicism] (c. 1940) 141

The Organum According to Tsze sze (1942) 145

Appendix: Two Letters from Pound to the Frobenius Institute 147

To Douglas C. Fox (1935 and 1937) 147

Letter from Pound to George Santayana (1941) 151

and Santayana's Response 152

Pragmatic Aesthetics

Pragmatic Aesthetics of E.P. (c. 1940-1943) 155

A Note on the Texts 161

A Note on the Illustrations 167

Index 171
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1765-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1756-2
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