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.


rsz marsh book









Table of Contents




Introduction    1

1. Jeffersonian Economics: Debt and the Production of Value    11

2. Three Aspects of the Jeffersonian Political Aesthetic   42

3. The Virtues of Distribution: A Genealogy of Poundian economics    68

4. Fertility Rites/Financial Rites: Pound, Williams and the Political ecopnomy of Sex    111

5. Poesis versus Production: The Economic Defense of Poetry in the Age of Corporate Capitalism    139

6. Dewey, Williams and the Pragmatic Poem   164

7. Overcoming Modernity. Representing the Corporation and the Promise of Pluralism    217


Notes   243

Bibliography    269

Index   281




Ph.D. English Literature, Rutgers University 1993

M.A. English Literature, Rutgers University 1984

B.A. English Literature, Bennington College 1978



Dr. Marsh’s primary field is Modern American poetry, especially Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. He teaches courses in 20th and 21st century poetry, African American literature and creative writing. Senior seminar topics include “Pound, Williams and H.D,” “Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes,” “Jay Wright and the Black Arts Movement,” and “W.B. Yeats:  Playwright and Poet.” 

Alec Marsh is Professor of English and American Literature at Muhlenberg College.



 rsz alec marsh 2013

Selected Awards, Publications and Presentations:

Ezra Pound, Reaktion Books Ltd, 2011.


Editor, Small Boy: The Wisconsin Childhood of Homer L. Pound. Foreword by Mary de Rachewiltz. The Ezra Pound Assn. Hailey, Idaho. 2003


Money and Modernity: Pound, Williams, and The Spirit of Jefferson. University of Alabama Press, 1998. Winner Ezra Pound Prize 1998.


“John Quincy Adams and/or Martin Van Buren: Cantos 34 and 37.” Paideuma. 33.1 (Spring 2005): 59-88.


“The Limits of Progressivism: The Political Economy of W. C. Williams’s Stecher Trilogy.” In Rigor of Beauty: Essays on William Carlos Williams. Edited by Ian Copestake. Bern. Peter Lang. 2004. 193-220.


“Letting the Black Cat Out of the Bag: A Case of Rejected ‘American-Africanism’ in Pound’s Cantos.” Paideuma Vol 29, 1&2 125-142. Spring-Fall 2000. Reprinted in Ezra Pound and African American Modernism. Michael Coyle ed. NPF. 2001.


Boston Book Review. “Last Train From Rubble Station: New Celan Translations.” Rev. of Glottal Stop: 101 Poems by Paul Celan. Translated by Nickolai Popov and Heather McHugh.  


Boston Book Review. “Peter Carey’s Irish Novel.” Rev. of True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.


Boston Book Review. “Wright's Way.” Rev. of Transfigurations by Jay Wright.


Radio Interviews with Peter Carey, Carolyn Forche, Alice Fulton, Jusef Komunyakaa, Philip Levine, John McGahern, Paul Muldoon, Michael Pollan, Gary Snyder etc.



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