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From utopia to paradise: Louis Zukofsky and the legacy of Ezra Pound

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:27 authored by Richard Thomas Arie Parker
In my introduction I begin by sketching Ezra Pound’s engagement with utopian and paradisal themes, charting his moves from aestheticism in the pre-war years to utopian-political concerns in the 1930s and on to a synthetic-paradisal phase after the Second World War. In my first chapter I chart the period of Pound and Louis Zukofsky’s closest collaboration, analysing the presence of Zukofsky’s political thought in his poetics through this crucial phase and the proximity of his thought to his mentors Pound and William Carlos Williams. In my second chapter I discuss Pound and Zukofsky’s interest and use of music in their poetries, suggesting that this theme provides an analogue to their paradisal thought from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s. Music is of great importance to both writers and the points at which their approaches coincide and differ are revelatory of their conceptions of paradise. Finally I turn to the late, paradisal segment of Zukofsky’s career in the 1960s and 1970s, describing the manner in which Zukofsky’s synthetic paradisal method relates both to Pound’s in The Cantos and takes stock of the work and interests of the younger poets writing of the period. In my conclusion I briefly describe the termination of Pound and Zukofsky’s relationship and make some closing comments on their paradises, relating their final synthetic paradises to differing conceptions of time that relate to their entire oeuvres, even back to the poets’ early aesthetic phases.


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