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PRETENTIOUS SCANSION, FASCIST AESTHETICS, AND A FATHER-COMPLEX FOR JOYCE: E. E. CUMMINGS ON SAPPHICS AND EZRA POUND

  • J. Alison Rosenblitt (a1)
Abstract

This paper considers a Sapphic poem written by E. E. Cummings: ‘the phonograph may(if it likes)be prophe’, which takes aim at Ezra Pound's relationship to the classical tradition and in particular at Pound's classicising use of quantitative metre. Cummings’ humourous but biting poem comments on Pound's literary ideas in the light of his fascist politics. Cummings’ poem constructs a layered discussion about ownership of the Classical tradition and about the privileging of the Classical aesthetic versus the English ear in English-language poetry. Thus Cummings offers both a critique of Pound and, implicitly, a literary argument concerning the role of the Classics in English verse.

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*Email: Alison.rosenblitt@classics.ox.ac.uk
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Baker (1959) ‘Cummings and Catullus’, Modern Language Notes 74, 231–4.

E. E. Cummings (2013) The theatre of E. E. Cummings, ed. G. J. Firmage, New York.

M. Feldman (2012) ‘The “Pound case” in historical perspective: an archival overview’, Journal of Modern Literature 35, 8397.

R. S. Kennedy (1980) Dreams in the mirror: a biography of E. E. Cummings, New York.

S. D. G. Knowles (2003) ‘Death by Gramophone’, Journal of Modern Literature 27, 113.

L. Morgan (2010) Musa pedestris: metre and meaning in Roman verse, Oxford.

P. B. Mullen (1971) ‘E. E. Cummings and popular culture’, Journal of Popular Culture 5, 503–20.

M. Pridmore-Brown (1998) ‘1939–40: Of Virginia Woolf, gramophones, and fascism’, Publications of the Modern Language Association 113, 408–21.

H. Witemeyer (1999) ‘Early poetry 1908–1920’, in I. B. Nadel (ed.) The Cambridge companion to Ezra Pound, Cambridge, 4358.

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The Cambridge Classical Journal
  • ISSN: 1750-2705
  • EISSN: 2047-993X
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-classical-journal
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