SoSe 13: 'Vision' and the Poetry of American Modernism: Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and H.D.
The focus of this seminar will be on the poetry of three poets who, at one time, were close friends (H.D., admired by Williams, was betrothed to Pound for five years) before they parted ways ... read more
The focus of this seminar will be on the poetry of three poets who, at one time, were close friends (H.D., admired by Williams, was betrothed to Pound for five years) before they parted ways biographically but also in poetic practice since they took a concept of "image" and poetic "vision" they had originally shared into different directions. In their revolt against Victorian aesthetics, they had emphasized "male" hardness and precision, the clarity of vision and of language - in short: the importance of the "eye" - against the "softness" of the "I": the blurriness of subjective expression. At first grouped under the label "Imagists" (a label Pound had invented to promote the poems of H.D.), they soon strove against the limitations of the concept, seeking to give its implications of stasis and brevity a more dynamic interpretation that would also allow for larger forms, or - as in the case of H.D. - to find a way back to the subjective voice and a distinctly female perspective.
The seminar will be dedicated to two phases of their work: the first marked by experimental and mostly short poems published during or after WW I; the second by long poems published during or after WW II (poems that, although greatly different, are nevertheless aware of, perhaps even respond to, each other): Pound's The Cantos (esp. The Pisan Cantos), Williams's Paterson, and H.D.'s The Walls Do Not Fall.
A Reader will be available and can be acquired in the Copy Shop on Königin-Louise-Straße before the beginning of the semester. A graded schein will be given for a written paper (of about 20-25 pages), an attendance schein for engaged oral participation (or 2 short written contributons). Students interested in this seminar should register for it at the Sekretariat Abteilung Literatur.