1 dic. 2008

I think my book makes several distinct contributions:

1. There hasn't been much good critical writing on Kenneth Koch. There's the Harry Mathews essay on The Duplications, for example, or the preface to the Selected Poems by Padgett, and shorter pieces by Jordan Davis, some unpublished, but pickings are slim. There are plenty of University Press books with one chapter on Ashbery, or one chapter on O'Hara, but usually Koch is left out of the equation. My chapter on Koch will be one of the most distinctive scholarly contributions to the study of his poetry. Although the focus is on his rewriting of Lorca, I think I also illuminate his work in other ways à propos of that.

2. My treatment of the Deep Image school is one of the most in depth available. I deal with both the Bly/Wright and the Rothenberg/Kelly branches of this school, taking the debate one step further than Jed Rasula's excellent piece.

3. My chapter on Spicer is also among the most in-depth scholarly/critical treatments of this poet. I have relevant things to say about his practice of dictation. If After Lorca is a significant work of American poetry, then my treatment of it is also significant. I go one step beyond previous treatments: Blaser, Eshleman, Chamberlain.

4. The contextualization of American poets in relation to the cold war might be useful, even though my treatments of O'Hara, Kaufman, Ginsberg, and Duncan do not really break new ground, but my overview of this period, emphasizing a certain romanticism, might be useful even if you don't care about Lorca.

5. I have some relevant things to say about the practice of translation as it relates to the cultural history of the 1950s. There is very little nit-picking about how translators should have translated. Instead, there is a deeper contextualization of the entire enterprise.

6. While this isn't a book about Lorca per se, in an odd way it illuminates his work through the use of "negative space." I think it will be one of the top books about Lorca, alongside contributions by full-fledged lorquistas like Christopher Maurer and Andrew A. Anderson.

7. It will be impossible to think of the duende the same way after reading my book.

8. It's kind of a good model of the "reception study," a staple of Comparative Literature since there was a Comparative Literature. It shows that a reception study can be hip, funny, and smart, as opposed to kind of a deadly catalogue. It doesn't break wholly new ground in translation studies, but is a good application of ideas pioneered by Venuti.

9. I like the way I integrate aesthetic criticism with political and social concerns. I show how you can't really evaluate the literary colonialism involved in adapting Lorca to the American agenda without taking a serious look at the aesthetic/poetic effects. [Please forgive my immodesty here: believe me I had to twist my arm for several hours before I could write this post. Now both of my arms are hurting: the one that did the twisting and the one that was twisted. I feel that I should promote this book because the University of Chicago Press is putting its resources into its publication. It would be selfish of me to be too modest, just so you would not think of me as being too arrogant.]

10. Finally, if you know and like me, it is fun to read. It has everything that makes me a distinctive writer/critic/intellectual. It has poetry, jazz, a sense of humor. A provocative intelligence and a certain acerbic wit. I couldn't have written it without being me. Or, put another way, I was uniquely situated to write this particular book, by traiing, temperament.

3 comentarios:

John dijo...

I remember Barthes referring somewhere, in "Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes," to "defensive parentheses." Your defensive parenthesis [in brackets] was charming. Good for you for promoting your book!

I do want to read it, but I don't want to pay $35. Sorry about that! I've checked my local public library, and it hasn't shown up on the list yet. (Books sometimes do pre-publication; I read Alex Ross's MacArthur-generating book that way.)

Jonathan dijo...

It won't come out until April, so it's possible your library will get it.

Chris dijo...

Perhaps your next book should be an autobiography...