Download Geometry of Modernism: The Vorticist Idiom in Lewis, Pound, by Miranda B. Hickmann PDF

By Miranda B. Hickmann

Addressing either the literature and the visible arts of Anglo-American modernism, The Geometry of Modernism recovers an important improvement of modernism's early years that in the past has obtained little sustained serious cognizance: the distinct idiom composed of geometric varieties and metaphors generated in the early modernist circulation of Vorticism, shaped in London in 1914. targeting the paintings of Wyndham Lewis, chief of the Vorticist flow, in addition to Ezra Pound, H.D., and William Butler Yeats, Hickman examines the advanced of reasons out of which Lewis first and foremost cast the geometric lexicon of Vorticism—and then how Pound, H.D., and Yeats later answered to it and the values that it encoded, enlisting either the geometric vocabulary and its attendant assumptions and beliefs, in transmuted shape, of their later modernist work.

Placing the genesis and appropriation of the geometric idiom in old context, Hickman explores how regardless of its brevity as a move, Vorticism actually exerted substantial effect on modernist paintings of the years among the wars, in that its geometric idiom enabled modernist writers to articulate their responses to either own and political crises of the Thirties and Nineteen Forties. expert via wide archival study in addition to therapy of numerous of the least-known texts of the modernist milieu, The Geometry of Modernism clarifies and enriches the legacy of this very important interval.

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Extra info for Geometry of Modernism: The Vorticist Idiom in Lewis, Pound, H.D., and Yeats

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Finally, a third important source of geometric forms for writers of this period was the study of the occult. As Timothy Materer notes, Pound’s theory of poetry—which involves the use of geometric form—was “as mystical” as it was “scientific” (Modernist Alchemy 34). In part, Pound was steered toward the geomet22 ric image of the vortex by his early reading of commentary on “yogi philosophy” and “occultism” by one Yogi Ramacharaka (33). Pound and Yeats both were also affected by the occultist movement of Theosophy—Yeats directly, as a member of London’s Theosophical Society, Pound more indirectly, through contact with Yeats and members of the Theosophical Quest Society—which often featured a mixture of scientific and mystical thought, and which, more importantly, accented geometric patterns in its work.

Its major theoretical statements appeared through the periodical-cum-manifesto, Blast, which debuted in 1914; the second, and final, issue of Blast appeared in 1915—as a “War Number” issued from the midst of the First World War. Despite the aggressive, often bombastic, artistic pronouncements for which the Vorticists came to be known, the aesthetic program with which they began was neither coherent nor precisely articulated—but from the outset, they were consistently recognized, and often caricatured, for their signature geometric idiom.

Especially when that stuff is a harsh, reverberative, and indeed rather terrible material . . It was . . professional. (Lewis’s italics) ( wloa 342) This is colloquially put, but illuminating nonetheless: the attitude described is the controlled “sternness” and “severity of mind” that accompanies, and enables, action (“appropriate to the man who does the stuff ” [my italics])—action that is in turn both forceful (it can work with “harsh” material [my italics]) and Introduction efficient and unsentimental (“professional”).

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