rsz alec marsh 2013








Money and Modernity. Pound, Williams and the Spirit of Jefferson.
Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999.


Marsh about Marsh:

It is not for me to assess the value of my own Money and Modernity: Pound, Williams, and the Spirit of Jefferson (Alabama). This work connects the work of the two college chums through a shared ‘‘Jeffersonian’’ ideology. The Pound discussed in this book is very ‘American,’’ and I attempt to show how characteristic Jeffersonian concerns about money, finance capital, and republican probity as well as a defensive, not to say paranoid, attitude toward modernity influenced both The Cantos and Paterson. I produce a ‘‘genealogy of Poundian economics,’’ trying to show how Pound and Williams were predisposed to Social Credit for Jeffersonian reasons; a Marxist analysis of Social Credit supplements this proposition. Other chapters show how many American poets turned toward the newly prestigious discourse of economics to defend poetry by promoting poesis over ‘‘production’’—the opposite of the Marxist view current in the 1930s. Contrasting analyses of the corporation by the two poets—Pound’s followed Mussolini while Williams’s followed Dewey— help explain some of the differences in their two epic poems and suggest the contrasting ways by which both poets attempted to overcome modernity itself. Finally, I address Pound’s peculiar brand of fascism. Although the book can be read as a work of cultural studies, I prefer to think of it as intellectual history.


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