Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The New Age December 5 1912

Hello anyone,

It’s been a short while since my last post—end-of-quarter rush has pushed the blog to the backburner, for a moment at least. But I don’t want to get behind, and the relentlessness of The New Age compels me to take a break from writing my seminar paper (on Aldington, I’m gonna post on the neat stuff I found lying around the library soon). At some point (I’ll try to find it tomorrow, I think it was in his autobiography Life for Life’s Sake), Aldington commented on the near-legendary status that A. R. Orage had in his own lifetime. I can see why. The weekly pace is intense.

This post’ll be a quick one. My favorite discovery this week was a furious review of Rupert Brooke’s poem “Mary and Gabriel.” A sexy poem indeed, and it certainly caused a scandal: “Beginning boldly : “Young Mary, loitering once,” this young man nibbles after all the supposititious sensations of the Virgin. His licence is only limited by the exactions of printed matter. We may conclude, for certain, that his thoughts left nothing unstated… Mr. Rupert Brooke is a youth of evil taste” (109). Now, I’m not a scholar of Brooke, but I’ve encountered him primarily as a jingoistic war poet. Claudia Emerson pointed out his incredible last fragment—it begins “I strayed about the deck” and should be easily Googlable. Apparently that one was written the night he died, or the night he sickened. It’s really great to see him as a sacrilegious rapscallion instead of a tragic warmonger. Sort of hilariously, the first google hit I got when tracking this poem down was a religious anthology.

A moment more to follow up on the duels in the “Letters to the Editor.” Pound is vanquished, Hastings escalates. It’s been largely out of my experience to read Pound being contrite: “Sir,-I regret the haste and ill-considered phrasing of my letter of two weeks since. I regret its ambiguities. I have, it seems, been as much bored by uninformed pro-Turks as Mr. Pickthall has been by uninformed pro-Bulgars” (116). And the letter goes on largely in that vein. Worth a look.

Hastings, you might remember, is writing that girls cannot be forced into prostitution. She counters a letter alleging the opposite by calling its examples “myths.” But where it gets interesting is where she shifts the terms of the debate—calling out the anti-“white slavery” lobby for its bloodlust. Apparently they were pushing to bring back flogging as punishment for pimps. This line doesn’t show any signs of dying soon.

Right, gotta get back to work. More soon as winter break starts.

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