Friday, September 27, 2013

The New Age, September 18 1913

The most entertaining part of this issue is:

HASTINGS attacking Pound, in a big way. I hope this is just an opening salvo, and knowing BH and EP and The New Age there'll be some more scuffling before it's over.  Hastings goes after Pound's recent series of articles on French poetry ("The Approach to Paris") and French avant gardes (covered in earlier posts and continuing in this one) in an article titled "The Way Back to America."

Did I mention that I figured out the penname "Hastings?" Her non-pseudonymous name is"Haigh," so it's "Haigh-stings." And how! In this piece, "The Way Back to America," she goes after Pound, hitting him in every chink of his armor: his elitism, his tendency to declare himself writing for small audiences, his habit of quoting a line of poetry and acting as if its virtues are self-evident, etc. Really he gets raked every time he publishes a piece in TNA. His response to the criticism-thus-far is measured: "I have no inclination to argue about these affairs" (607).

His essay on Romains is very fascinating--I feel like reading Romains, now. The end is gracious and heartfelt: "Whatever we may think of his theories, in whatever paths we may find it useless to follow him, we have here at last the poet, and our best critique is quotation." 'Nuff said.

Carl Bechhofer is displaying his classic cheerio pip pip British Imperial racism in his piece on traveling India. If you're into that sort of vomit, read his piece. I don't know why he lacks the imagination to see that it isn't fun to carry someone else's things over mountains, and that if one can negotiate early payment and go home to one's real work, one might just think that makes sense. Not that I am claiming to understand the motivations of the workers who strand him--just that I understand that they have motivations.

Hastings' translations continue to build her persona, as again she and Orage practice subtle laminations of articles to advance their points. Again she uses translations of the Mahabrata to illustrate current rhetoric: this time she casually retells a legend about a rich but enlightened man who avoided a vicious robbery by explaining to the thief that he understood said thief's superiority over the common herd. Punchline? That the thief was the enlightened man's ego all along.

Hastings' contribution to "Pastiche" is, as usual, quite excellent. She's much better at prose than poetry, especially when she adopts a surrealist mode. I believe that "Valerie" is Katherine Mansfield, and "Alice" is BH.

Some notes from Orage's "Readers and Writers"

"Students intent on mastery prefer the original sources; and the general reader is of no account" (601). This makes a researcher's heart warm.

Orage then goes after H.G. Wells. My favorite part is when he says that Wells should stick to "scientific romances" but perhaps not, because "the field is exhausted."

Usually I skip John Francis Hope's "Drama" column, but this bears repeating: "Yet we are inundated with plays of the "Who Shall Win Her?" type, as though it mattered to anybody but the poor devil who succeeded... It is true that one can set men and women on the stage, lying, murdering, seducing, and committing suicide all for the sake of sex; but to those who think that this is drama I have nothing to say." Ha!

This issue was particularly rich and I haven't begun to do it justice, but I must skedaddle on because I'm already two days into the next week and I haven't done this month's Poetry or The Masses or the second monthly installment of The New Freewoman. And I feel like I should be broadening to more journals... these first, though.

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