American Modernism's Expatriate Scene

American Modernism's Expatriate Scene: The Labour of Translation

DANIEL KATZ
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r28jr
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  • Book Info
    American Modernism's Expatriate Scene
    Book Description:

    This book attempts to address the paradoxes inherent in international modernism (a literary movement which at once strove to cross borders of nation, language, and tradition yet which at the same time often endorsed nationalist and ‘racial’ models of identity.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3087-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-9)

    The association of modernism with expatriation and exile is venerable to the point of being a cliché; around a century after the fact, it might seem strange to revisit the issue now. It is my contention that certain recent developments, critical and historical, make it an especially opportune moment to do so, but it is also worth mentioning that from the inceptions of English-language modernism, exile, exoticism, and expatriation were already being mobilized precisely as cliché themselves. Thus Henry James, in his earliest notebook entries concerning what was to become The Ambassadors, already worries about the cliché of Paris he...

  5. CHAPTER 1 NATIVE WELL BEING: HENRY JAMES AND THE “COSMOPOLITE”
    (pp. 10-33)

    Let us begin near the end of “modernism,” rather than at its beginnings; let us begin forcibly thrust into America, rather than willfully absented from it. In 1944, from the misery of political exile in America, Theodor Adorno extrapolated the following concerning cultural displacement and intellectual life:

    Every intellectual in emigration is, without exception, mutilated, and does well to acknowledge it to himself, if he wishes to avoid being cruelly apprised of it behind the tightly-closed doors of his self-esteem. He lives in an environment that must remain incomprehensible to him, however flawless his knowledge of trade-union organizations or the...

  6. CHAPTER 2 THE MOTHER’S TONGUE: SEDUCTION, AUTHENTICITY, AND INTERFERENCE IN THE AMBASSADORS
    (pp. 34-52)

    In the previous chapter we examined the curious economy of the “cosmopolite,” who seems to compensate for the increasing loss of the “sanctity” of his relationship to his “home,” to any sense of originary belonging, by a tendency to reify others into nothing but sheer embodiments of a totalized cultural practice. “Occasional Paris” and Henry’s letters to William about their sister Alice explore this dynamic in terms of cultural prejudice: living in a space designated as “foreign,” all faults, failings and annoyances are read as emblematic of that particular culture, rather than of the human condition. But what I would...

  7. CHAPTER 3 EZRA POUND’S AMERICAN SCENES: HENRY JAMES AND THE LABOUR OF TRANSLATION
    (pp. 53-70)

    “Twenty-five years ago ‘one’ came to England to escape Ersatz;” Ezra Pound explained in 1933, precisely twenty-five years after having moved to England himself. He continued as follows: “that is to say, whenever a British half-wit expressed an opinion, some American quarter-wit rehashed it in one of the ‘respectable’ American organs” (Selected Prose, 227). The irony, if not particularly subtle, still bears examination. If America, in accordance with the oldest of new-world, expatriate tropes, lags behind England in terms of culture, still one goes to the latter not to shun imitation and obtain the authentic cultural value, but rather to...

  8. CHAPTER 4 POUND AND TRANSLATION: IDEOGRAM AND THE VULGAR TONGUE
    (pp. 71-94)

    Recent criticism on Ezra Pound has, quite rightly, been placing an increased emphasis on the importance of translation within both his poetry and poetics—more than ever, translation is being viewed as a fundamental element of Pound’s work and thought, and not just as an ancillary activity.¹ However, what particular status to attribute to Pound’s work as translator remains as intractable a question as ever. Clearly, we are moving away from an inadequate view of Pound’s interest in translation as being mostly a matter of poetic hygiene and calisthenics, undertaken in view of the creation of superior “original” work. The...

  9. CHAPTER 5 GERTRUDE STEIN, WYNDHAM LEWIS, AND THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE
    (pp. 95-117)

    As much as Henry James before her, albeit in the glare of bohemian rupture rather than the fantasmatic glow of a renewed relationship to unbroken tradition, Gertrude Stein became the archetypal American expatriate artist for her generation, inextricably linking cultural authority to the continent once again. And as much as James if not more, she was to stress in various ways the essentially American aspect of her situation, in a body of writing consistently concerned with siting and situating generally. If her influence was decisive for Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway, two writers more obviously concerned with representing or perhaps...

  10. CHAPTER 6 JACK SPICER’S AFTER LORCA: TRANSLATION AS DELOCALIZATION
    (pp. 118-139)

    Jack Spicer—poet, bohemian, linguist, alcoholic, and early gay-rights activist—died of alcohol poisoning in San Francisco in 1965, at the age of forty. It is reported that his penultimate words, uttered in agony on his deathbed, were: “My vocabulary did this to me.”¹ His inclusion in a study of expatriate Modernists may seem anomalous. Not only was he not an expatriate, he hardly even crossed the borders of the United States. Moreover, born in 1925, he is usually grouped with the “New American Poetry” poets, and more specifically, the San Francisco Renaissance coterie, which consisted largely of former students...

  11. CHAPTER 7 HOMECOMINGS: THE POET’S PROSE OF ASHBERY, SCHUYLER AND SPICER
    (pp. 140-159)

    Spicer’s poetics, as we saw in the previous chapter, demonstrate an entirely Poundian emphasis on the centrality of translation for poetic production, along with positing a dialectics of locale and its derealization which is in many ways reminiscent of Stein. Unlike his two expatriate forerunners, however, he offers no extended meditation on Americanness or American identity as such, and gives little sense of a “cosmopolitan” shock before the untethering or relativizing of cultural practice. That said, the resolutely Californian Spicer’s profound unhappiness in New York and Boston was certainly lived by him as a form of exile and cultural estrangement,...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 160-184)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 185-192)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 193-198)