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The Elsewhere Community

Overview

"'All humans, by their nature,' said Aristotle, 'desire to know.' A special and unparalleled way to know is to simply go where you've never been before. And the key to this quest for knowledge is 'elsewhere.'"
So begins The Elsewhere Community by acclaimed literary critic Hugh Kenner, author of The Pound Era, and himself a living archive of modernism in twentieth-century literature. Kenner traces the quest for elsewhere as it manifests itself in various modes of "travel," from the eighteenth century English ...

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Overview

"'All humans, by their nature,' said Aristotle, 'desire to know.' A special and unparalleled way to know is to simply go where you've never been before. And the key to this quest for knowledge is 'elsewhere.'"
So begins The Elsewhere Community by acclaimed literary critic Hugh Kenner, author of The Pound Era, and himself a living archive of modernism in twentieth-century literature. Kenner traces the quest for elsewhere as it manifests itself in various modes of "travel," from the eighteenth century English tradition of a Grand Tour to the continent, to literary meetings-of-the-mind (Milton's visit to Galileo, T.S. Eliot's to Ezra Pound, Kenner's own visit to Beckett), to today's planet-wide Internet journeys, free from all physical limitations. As he chronicles this Elsewhere Community built of people exploring the unknown, Kenner illuminates how this passion has infused literature, from Homer and Dante to Dickens and Joyce. Kenner frames this unique exploration with a witty rumination on the life of the literary expatriate, fondly recalling his friendships with Ezra Pound, Samuel Beckett, Wyndham Lewis, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and other twentieth-century literary luminaries. Thus a fascinating intellectual autobiography emerges of Hugh Kenner as critic and chronicler, a man whose own life and work uniquely position him to assess the importance of travel in literary life.
Written with the confidence, grace, and verve that have always characterized Kenner's work, this delightful book is for anyone seeking to understand the irrepressible human urge to travel and to know.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Part memoir, part essay on the theme of the Grand Tour, this work by Kenner--a prolific critic, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, and the leading authority on the poet Ezra Pound--discusses the role of travel as part of completing one's education and as a metaphor for intellectual discovery. Kenner speaks of travel as a search for mentors, which he refers to as the Elsewhere Community. In addition to examples of the Grand Tour, he draws on his Canadian father's trip to Rome, as well as his own experiences with mentors such as Ezra Pound, Samuel Beckett, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams, each part of Kenner's own Elsewhere Community. He discusses passages from these and other writers, such as Yeats and the poet Patty Kavanagh, to illustrate their own searches for a like group. He also reflects on the meaning of the Internet and reading as part of the community. Originally delivered as five talks on Canadian radio in 1997, Kenner's treatment is accessible, if occasionally repetitive. This thoughtful, witty, and charming book is highly recommended.--T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
In a casual format meant for a general audience, the great critic and scholar of Modernism discusses the essence of literary education in terms of two basic themes: the voyage of discovery and fruits of mentorship. This group of essays, originally given as a series of radio broadcasts, starts with a meditation on the familiar western topos of the Grand Tour and the literary significance of Elsewhere, that hitherto unknown or foreign destination which in the course of the journey becomes assimilated into the traveler's experience—transforming both the foreign and the familiar into something new. Skillfully weaving memoir, literary anecdote, and scholarly reflection, Kenner (Historical Fictions, 1990) shows how the literary voyage leads to the literary encounter and vice versa: Milton goes to Italy and meets Galileo, who influences his work; generations later, Wordsworth, with Milton in mind, goes to the Italian Alps to find inspiration. The literal Elsewhere of travel and the transports of literary experience are thus linked by a common idea of mentorship and education. Kenner's examples skip lightly across literary epochs, reaching from Dante to Henry James to Marianne Moore and back to Wordsworth and Emerson, but always reverting to his beloved Modernists. A final chapter muses on the Internet, both the tremendous expansion it affords to the Elsewhere community and the peculiar limitations imposed by technology on the Elsewhere experience. Quietly lurking beneath Kenner's freewheeling study is a familiar but ever-timely lesson in what it means to seek out and be changed by literary experience, and how not to confuse authentic artistic engagement with the chimeras ofacademic orsocial convention. Kenner's prose is, as always, masterly, intimate, and sincere, full of graceful erudition and cheerful gravity. A brief, wide-ranging excursion into the heart of literature, led by one of its most devoted and reliable guides.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195132977
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/1/1900
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 712,203
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Kenner is Franklin and Callaway Professor of English, Emeritus, at the University of Georgia. He has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society, and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the author of over thirty books, including The Pound Era, The Mechanic Muse (Oxford) and A Sinking Island: The Modern English Writers. He lives in Athens, GA

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