Sunday, December 2, 2012

The New Age November 28 1912

The weekly pace of The New Age  is already quite intense--it is as comprehensive as it is often difficult to comprehend.  First, a few revelations in form: I had gathered that there were some regular columns, or at least recurring topics, in The New Age.  This week's issue continues several of the last week's columns, "Foreign Affairs," the humorous "Current Cant," "Guild Socialism," "The Black Crusade" (see last post), and "Pastiche," which appears to be a sort of guest authored literary piece.  There is also a poetry section and reviews, as last week.

I'm having trouble choosing a featured article for this week, so I'll probably just dawdle through a few before posting on any of them. 

First, I was excited to see Richard Aldington's poetry make an appearance--I'm currently working on a paper on Aldington that I'll be presenting at MLA in January.  He's published a set of translations from Latin written by medieval/renaissance Italians.  I'll try to put the split that I see developing in poetry circa 1912 in my post on this month's Poetry, but Aldington's prose poems in The New Age are radically plain--a sharp contrast to the Italian translations of Ezra Pound.  I think Pound went to Cavalcanti et. al. to dazzle, while Aldington is trying for an austere elegance.  "To the Winds, The Prayer of Idmon," a translation of Andrea Navigerius, caught my eye because it seems to be a matched pair to the second half of H.D.'s "Garden" (aka "Heat"), a poem that Robert Duncan considered formative.  Only H.D.'s is a poem of intense emotion, while Aldington's is far softer (H.D. asks the wind to "rend," Aldington asks it to "assuage"). 

One thing I failed to mention last week was the ongoing debate in the magazine about the regulation of prostitution.  One side says that prostitution leads to what we now call human trafficking--then called "white slavery," a vision of young English girls being kidnapped and sold for sex in Buenos Aires.  But The New Age doesn't offer much for me to really understand the scope of the issue, because they seem to just satirize the whole problem.  Beatrice Hastings attacks the notion that women can be enslaved against their will--which to me seems naive.  I'm going to keep an eye out for more on this issue.

This issue includes a collision between Hastings and Pound.  Last week I wrote about Pound's furious anti-Turkish letter to the editor.  This week Marmaduke Pickthall (of "Black Crusade") responded with this eviscerating comment: "Mr. Ezra Pound writes as one who, knowing nothing of a subject, cannot endure to hear a word about it" (93).  But the real prize is Hastings' pseudonymous response (as T. K. L., and thank you kindly to the MJP for tagging her pseudonyms!).  She satirizes Pound by comically agreeing and disagreeing with him.  The first line, "Sir, as an abosolutely regular occasional contributor" made me laugh out loud.  She continues in the persona of an angry jingoistic bigoted Englishman--calling out "The 'decadant Greek and the pestilent Bulgar,' according to our friend Pound's description, and I add the mean Montenegrin and the unspeakable Servian, are already marked off the map, Sir, and a good job!" etc. etc. 

Alright--this is probably how things'll shape up in this project: zooming in on the stuff that interests me most, rather than providing the sort of index-post like last time.  I'm off to work on Rhythm and Poetry. 

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