1 jun. 2009

Ideas for the day:

What if the "modernist turn" in recent poetry is a conservative one, a repression of the radical spirit of the avant-garde half of "postmodernism"? What then? Huh? Huh? What then?

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A critic I admire a great deal, Julián Jiménez Heffernan, who has translated a couple of Ashbery books into Spanish, says that there are two histories of poetry, the external and the internal. The internal is just the history of a (Bloomian?) strong poetry. That allows him to just ignore conventional literary history. I find this a useful move.

***

The intervention of the strong critic actually alters the course of literary history itself--if we consider that literary history is "made up" anyway. In other words, literary history is not the history of some object, literature, that has an independent existence outside of literary historiography itself. There are the "primary texts" themselves, of course, but who determines which of these "count" as part of literary history? Imagine a history of modern Spanish poetry that left out Lorca, Jiménez, Machado, etc... but did include other primary texts by poets we tend to see as secondary. So the judgment of what counts has to precede the writing of history, which is then a matter of piecing together "what counts" in some coherent narrative.

1 comentario:

Jordan dijo...

> What if

Well, yeah.

> What then?

Well, yeah.