Quantum Poetics: Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and the Science of Modernism

Overview

Quantum Poetics is a study of the way Modernist poets appropriated scientific metaphors as part of a general search for the pre-verbal origins of poetry. In this wide-ranging and eloquent study, leading Modernist scholar Daniel Albright examines Yeats's, Eliot's, and Pound's search for the elementary particles from which poems were constructed. The poetic possibilities offered by developments in scientific discourse intrigued a Modernist movement intent on remapping the theory of poetry. Using models supplied by ...
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Overview

Quantum Poetics is a study of the way Modernist poets appropriated scientific metaphors as part of a general search for the pre-verbal origins of poetry. In this wide-ranging and eloquent study, leading Modernist scholar Daniel Albright examines Yeats's, Eliot's, and Pound's search for the elementary particles from which poems were constructed. The poetic possibilities offered by developments in scientific discourse intrigued a Modernist movement intent on remapping the theory of poetry. Using models supplied by physicists, Yeats sought for the basic units of poetic force through his sequence A Vision and through his belief in and defense of the purity of symbols. Pound's whole critical vocabulary, Albright claims, aims at drawing art and science together in a search for poetic precision, the tiniest textual particles that held poems together. Through a series of patient and original readings, Quantum Poetics demonstrates how Eliot, Lawrence, and others formulated what Albright calls "a wave-theory of poetry," a mode of expression intended to create telepathic intimacy between writer and reader and to encourage a whole new way of thinking about poetry and science as two different aspects of the same reality. This comprehensive study from a leading scholar of Modernism is a fresh examination of the relationship between science and Modernist poetry.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Albright presents an insightful and delightful study of the relationship between physics and poetry in the first half of the 20th century....Like all good studies, this one stimulates a desire to reread familiar material with new energy." R.T. Prus, Choice

"QUantun Poetics...takes modernism seriously and regards the attempt to define modernism across the arts as something worth doing. I recommend Quantum Poetics to you." Reed Way Dasenbrock, American Literature

"For an engagingly written introduction to the modernist struggle to reconcile the fluid nature of experience with a belief in consistent truths,...turn to the deft close readings in Quantum Poetics ." Suzanne Shimek, English Literature in Transition 1880-1920

"Albright's interpretations of Eliot are...brilliant, and his fresh and penetrating writing, along with his mastery of modernism, will lead readers to radical revisons of their own familiar perceptions of Eliot's wastelands and regenerations. Indeed, the virtue of Quantum Poetics is precisely this power of exciting the reader to return to and look in new ways at some well-traversed terrain." William Gorski, Isis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521035330
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Note on references
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Yeats's waves 31
1 Yeats's figures as reflections in water 31
2 Yeats and the avant-garde 49
3 The theme of homunculus: Yeats and Wyndham Lewis 83
4 Yeats and the sublime 102
Ch. 2 Pound's particles 111
1 Minima (elementary particles of modernist poetry) 111
2 Symbol (Yeats's precursor to Pound's image) 115
3 The decay of symbols 121
4 Things in themselves (Pound's anti-allegorism) 127
5 Image (Kandinsky, Brancusi, Tchelitchew) 134
6 Units of rhythm (Antheil) 147
7 Ideogram 160
8 Vortex 162
9 The decay of vortices 180
10 The null set (Hugh Selwyn Mauberley) 186
Ch. 3 Eliot's waves 218
1 Monadological metaphors in Eliot's early work 218
2 Narratives tied in knots 241
3 Christ-particles in Eliot's late work (relief from the waves) 282
Bibliography 288
Index 295
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